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We’re cruising our way through the 5 C’s of Successful Channel Marketing Programs. So far, we’ve made stops to discuss Create and Connect and now find ourselves at the third stop, Communicate.
Communication sounds like an obvious component of any marketing strategy, so what’s unique about it in the context of brands and their channel partners? Brands have double duty with regard to communication. They must communicate and inform the brand’s value proposition to keep the channel partners engaged and excited — and they must empower their channel partners to amplify that communication to end customers and prospects. The primary vehicle for this communication starts in a partner portal, which is often a component of a Through-Channel Marketing Automation, or TCMA solution.
Communicate to your partners
The 2021 Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey published by Channel Marketing Report and Demand Gen Report (CMR/DGR) found that 66% of brands utilize a partner portal as part of their sales and marketing efforts. Through a partner portal, brands can communicate directly with their partners, sending messages about new campaigns and connecting partners with available content to boost engagement and activity.
However, while partner portals are a common way brands communicate with their channel partners, too often these portals provide generic, one-size-fits-all interfaces. Partners are not all alike — they may operate globally, speak different languages, have different levels of sophistication, and have varying permissions to access various portions of the portal and its assets.
To promote effective and relevant communication with every partner, the partner portal should be personalized and configurable so you can define and manage the experience by role, region, country or language. It should be customizable to meet each partner’s level of sophistication and be glocalizable (my new word) to support multiple languages. And importantly, the partner portal should provide you with metrics to measure your partners’ engagement with the platform, so you can continually hone and adjust your communications.
Communicate through your partners
Successful channel marketing relies on your brand’s ability to effectively communicate the value of your brand and its solutions through your channel partners and on to end customers and prospects. In that equation, channel partners are often the roadblock. Many are simply too busy to actively market your brand, while others lack the internal resources to develop professional marketing collateral.
It’s a brand’s responsibility to make partners’ marketing efforts better and easier to deploy. One way to achieve this is to provide ready-made, multi-touch campaign materials in your partner portal. Allow channel partners to co-brand the assets, personalizing them for their organizations. Enable them to translate materials to reach their chosen audiences. And empower them to track the results of their marketing efforts. By helping your partners communicate, your brand’s voice is amplified.
Extend your partners’ communication initiatives
Having a website and periodically launching an email campaign may have worked yesterday, but today’s B2B buyers are much savvier — and they’re communicating through more channels than previously. In fact, a recent Hubspot survey found that 92% of marketers leverage more than one channel and 81% leverage more than three.
To have a shot at even starting a conversation, brands — and their channel partners — are deploying integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies that meet the buyer where they’re at and guide them through the buyer journey. Among the marketing channels worth considering are:
Websites and Blogs
Blogging helps generate brand awareness and drives traffic to your website
Provide engaging, relevant and timely content for partner email campaigns
Allow partners to syndicate your social media for maximum reach
Let your partners put their personalized touches on your videos
Help partners promote and host webinars that generate leads
Make it simple for partners to include logos and contact information on your branded materials
Allow partners to syndicate your brand’s content (everything above!) through their own channels
As a brand, you’re in the position to provide much of the content for these efforts, magnifying your brand’s exposure while extending your partners’ reach.
Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms, like StructuredWeb, provide tools and services that improve your ability to communicate with your channel partners and power their communications with your joint end customers. Stay tuned for the next installment in the 5 C’s series where we consider Convert!