Making marketing easy for your channel partners in 2019
One of the perennial business challenges for IT brands is getting channel partners to market their products. There are a number of strategies that can boost partner marketing: incentives, training, brand-provided resources.
The most effective strategy is for brands to craft and execute marketing campaigns on their own and distribute them through partners to end-buyers. This process is called “through-channel marketing.” Through-channel marketing programs provide partners with high-quality, co-branded marketing campaigns but demand little of their time.
And yet, in our 2018 Pulse of the Channel survey (three surveys of 507 North American IT channel partners), only 23% of partners said they had engaged with a brand-provided marketing platform on a monthly basis in the last year.
What gives? Why are so many partners passing up on such a valuable resource? And more importantly, how can brands get partners to engage? The responses to the survey offered some important clues. Here are the big takeaways.
Address their biggest pain point: time
Lack of time is the number one reason cited by channel partners for not using a brand-provided marketing platform. For channel partners, even a relatively small commitment of time for marketing often means they’re neglecting the foundation of their business: sales and customer service. If you want partners to participate in your program, you need to make it fast for partners to deal with.
Marketing fully funded by the brand
Brands can’t expect partners to invest significant funds in their own marketing efforts. Even if they have the money, many partners aren’t confident that they will see a return on their investment and are therefore hesitant to spend. Our research found that more than half of partners spend less than $5,000 a year on marketing, while 10% spend nothing at all. An effective through-channel marketing program will demand no spending from the partner.
Make it easy for the partner to engage regularly
The harder it is to execute a program or access a platform, the fewer channel partners will regularly participate. The key is to make the technology aspect as simple as possible, so that those who use it do not require significant training. It should be easy enough to understand that any employee of a channel partner can access and execute within minutes.
Encourage early adoption and adjust incentives over time
The great majority of channel partners say that incentives will make them more likely to sell a brand’s products. The majority say that they will respond positively to cash incentives, and a significant number say that they are most likely to sell a brand’s products if they are offered marketing support as an incentive. That presents an opportunity to align your incentives with your marketing strategy, producing an investment that will benefit both you and your channel partners.
Over time, the program will generate business for the partner. As that happens, the partner will begin to appreciate the the program’s value and will not need incentives to be motivated to participate. At that point, the mutually-beneficial relationship will have fully formed.
Limited resources? We’ve got you covered.
Don’t have the time or the marketing tech to create and send campaigns on your own? That’s okay – that’s what we’re here for. OneAffiniti offers you the opportunity to do long-term marketing at no cost to you, and no more than five minutes of your time a month.
Contact us to learn more.