Marketing Tips / Pounce Marketing

How to Channel Your Inner Channel Marketer

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Last month, I ran a panel session at the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum in Sydney. The topic up for discussion was ‘maximising business value with partners.

During the session, we focused on how to communicate value to, with and for channel partners. We also identified that the right approach depends on the Go-To-Market strategy and the objectives a business wants to achieve.

It was an informative and useful session. In fact, it was so useful that I thought I might share it with you here.

Channel Segmentation

Before you engage with any channel partners it is important to understand their level of business maturity. Why? Because this impacts the level of investment required from the business, the types of campaigns that you can run and the amount of ROI you can expect.

For channel partners that are more mature in their systems, processes and marketing, it would make sense to run integrated marketing campaigns.

However, for channel partners that are still relatively young and have grown through word of mouth or referrals, a more nurturing and hand-holding approach may be required. That’s because they may not understand how to run a marketing campaign or even how to get started with marketing.

To ensure success it is important to align business plans. When partners and vendors are fully aligned, channel marketing strategies can produce better results. This is achieved by having an action-planned framework and holding regular meetings to keep everyone accountable.

Furthermore, depending on the maturity of the partner, you might want to dedicate people to work with them. Your partner needs a go-to person who is across the campaigns and can foster the relationship between partner and vendor.

Partner Portals and Campaigns in a Box

Most vendors have a partner portal to help facilitate interaction with channel partners. However, in most cases, the partner portal does not always get updated or partners are not sure how to even begin with a marketing campaign in a box.

One way to elevate this is to introduce a partner concierge service (usually an external agency) to help you manage channel partner requests and campaign executions on their behalf. The benefit of this is that the vendor then gets visibility and insights into the campaigns they are running with their partner.

Some additional ideas to increase adoption of the partner portal include:

  • Gamification and incentives
  • Marketing Development Fund (MDF) requests to perform marketing-related initiatives that will help increase your brand awareness.
  • Sales and marketing playbooks which are a collection of resources that are available on demand.

Partner Portals and Campaigns in a Box

Marketing Activities that Convert

Based on our experience this really depends on the level of maturity of the partner. But what we recommend is trying out alternate content types. Right now, there is a lot of webinar fatigue with people being over-exposed to the medium. So why not try different mediums such as podcasts and videos instead?

One of the other things that often tends to be forgotten is the nurturing of leads. Let’s say you are running an event with a partner. You get 20 people that respond but only 10 that register.

What generally happens in this instance is that the sales team will cherry-pick a couple of people from the 10 they want to follow up with and forget about the rest.

This is an oversight, as recent data suggests that B2B leads need a minimum of 10 touch points before they are ready to convert. So, it is important to understand what activities you are doing post-event to keep them engaged.

The other thing to remember is that you can create one piece of content and repurpose it in multiple different ways. For example, you can produce a whitepaper, create a press release, run a social campaign and make it part of a digital partner roundtable discussion.

Another example is if you are creating a video asset, you can break it down and create bite-sized pieces of content that can be promoted across your social media channels, YouTube and emails.

Marketing Activities that Convert

 

Ultimately, these strategies will help you maximise your budget and enable you to explore new avenues without heavily investing in new content. It also enables you to amplify the potential of messaging you know resonates with audiences.

If you have any further questions, or if you need help communicating with your channel partners then please contact [email protected]

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