Here is one example of why understanding the channel of your clients is critical in being able to recommend unique or innovative formats that will support the channel. And when a new technology is announced, there are cascading oppourtunities for the agency.
It is remarkable how quickly payment is going mobile. The latest is the contactless payment to be mobile enabled. MasterCard just announced that it has added NFC phones from seven device makers and designers to the list of handsets certified for use with its PayPass technology. Read announcement here. The iPhone becomes paypass enabled with an iCaisse you use as your phone case. Read article here. What is NFC? In Canada MasterCard was the first to launch debit cards enabled with NFC (near field communications) called PayPass. Then Visa followed with their version called PayWave and Interac with their version called Flash. Now both MasterCard and Visa offer this on some mobile models.
What does this mean to a production manager in the agency? When a new technology is announced - new communication is required and will be distributed throughout the entire channel. In this case at point-of-sale where card usage is influenced - payment acceptance decals (eg MasterCard PayPass accepted here), or usage promotions like contests or special offers are communicated on posters, tent cards, wobblers and displays need to be produced. Anything visual to bring attention to purchasers that this technology can now be used at this merchant and they can win or save. In consumer touch-points from their card issuer like credit card statement inserts. Or a brochure or toolkit for merchants to learn more about this technology.
Here is the channel dynamic; MasterCard, Visa and Interac do not have direct relationships with the channel customers and rely on their customers to distribute their message and material. They offer the technology platforms and secure rails that they 'rent' to payment processors (acquirers). They have a relationship with acquirers, issuers and hardware manufactures (eg Ingenico) who produce the POS terminal devices that you swipe or insert your 'card' on. The consumer relationship belongs to the banks (the issuers). The merchant relationship belongs with the payment processors (the acquirers - eg Moneris, Global Payments, First Data etc.), so MasterCard, Visa and Interac must produce material for the acquirers who will distribute them to 'their' merchants and the issuers who distribute them to 'their' customers. So it is a dance to support the channel, have strong brand presence and not step on the toes of the issues and acquirers whose customers you want to distribute messages to.
Understanding the channel of your clients is critical to your success in being able to recommend innovative formats to your team, who will develop great campaigns that will strengthen your clients relationship with their channel partners, in helping them look better to 'their' customers and prospects.