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Even if you’re not a college basketball fan, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the energy and hype of March Madness. After this weekend’s exciting tournament games, wild finishes and surprise Cinderella teams (St. Peters who?), we’re jumping in with our own bracket — the Sweet 16 of Channel Marketing Tactics — and predicting our winners in each of the matchups.

Since I’m on the clock, though, I’ll keep this article brief and focused on channel marketing. So here’s our matchup of this year’s top 16 channel marketing tactics. For the bubble tactics that didn’t make this year’s tournament cut, better luck next season. As for the ranking, our expert analysts pored over massive amounts of data including strength of scheduling and ranking to come up with our own proprietary formula. 

And here we go…

(#1) Email Marketing vs. (#16) Direct Mail

This matchup pits the venerable classic, Direct Mail, against the top seed and everyone’s favorite, Email Marketing. This represents a clash of style. Email Marketing is an offensive player that can be pushed out on any schedule and make some quick points (like a $39.40 return on every $1 invested). Direct Mail’s pace is a bit slower, having a lower ROI (29%) than Email Marketing. 

Our pick? Easy – Email Marketing for the win — the #16 is 1:143 all time. 

(#8) Cobrandable Assets vs. (#9) Retargeting Display Ads

Here’s a fairly equal pairing. Cobrandable Assets — the assets you allow partners to co-brand with their logo and contact information —  is a true team player, known for its assists that help other players score points. Retargeting Ads — the ads that seem to “know” what you’ve been searching for and offer it up —  is a stealth player, anticipating every play and successfully avoiding the block. 

Our pick? Cobrandable assets may have an edge with its versatility and partner-enablement power. 

(#5) Web Content Syndication vs. (#12) Webinar Syndication

We’re anxiously awaiting the results of this battle, as both teams are very well matched. Content syndication simply refers to the content you allow your partners to republish. Team Web Content Syndication is, you guessed it, syndicating portions of your web content for partners to leverage on their sites. Look for Web Content Syndication to try to minimize turnovers (page bounces) while Webinar Syndication will focus on maximizing possessions (attendance). 

Our pick? Too close to call. Syndicating content of any kind is a big power play and leads to wins for everyone in the game. 

(#4) Webinar Marketing vs. (#13) Video Syndication

This will be one to watch. Webinar Marketing — promoting your webinars and helping partners promote their —  is great with assists.  Video Syndication (making your brand’s videos available for partner reuse) is a dynamic player that’s worth watching. 

Our pick? These are both worthy competitors, making this a toss-up matchup to favor. Webinars are highly effective marketing tools, but their ROI is challenging to calculate. Videos create 5x more engagement and 8x the conversion of the same content in non-video form.

Maybe we’ll take a pass on this and invite you to watch this recorded webinar on — video marketing! 

(#6) Landing Pages/Lead Forms vs (#11) Product Catalog Syndication

Landing Pages and Lead Forms are strong defensive players, scoring points indirectly in response to other marketing players’ actions. We’re huge fans of content syndication of all kinds, and Product Catalog Syndication is a free throw to partners who can quickly rebrand and repurpose for their own game. 

Our pick? This matchup could go either way, but if pressed, we’ll go with Landing Pages/Lead Forms since they’re always part of our starting lineup. 

(#3) Google Ads vs. (#14) Personalized Videos

There is no denying that Google Ads is an offensive powerhouse, generating a return-on-ad-spend of 2:1. Personalized Videos are newer to the channel marketing tournament and could be this season’s Cinderella story as 72%  of B2B buyers expect customization in the marketing they receive. 

Our pick? There’s a whole lot to lack about each of these competitors. If pressed to make a pick, we’ll go with personalized videos for the win. 

(#7) Event Marketing vs. (#10) LinkedIn Ads/Paid Social

Event Marketing (promoting yours or your partner’s live or virtual events) is a perennial winner, while LinkedIn Ads and other paid social media can double team and generate results when the game is close.

Our pick? We could have a jump ball here. Let’s go with LinkedIn Ads and Paid Social since it can be used as an Event Marketing tactic.  

(#2) Social Syndication vs. (#15) Telemarketing

This pairing pits old school tactics with modern skills. Social Syndication is known for nailing its free throws — making it simple for partners to leverage your brand’s social media messaging. Telemarketing has had a few rough seasons but could actually be making a bit of a comeback — when compared to web leads, calls convert 10 to 15 times more often.

Our pick? Social Syndication is the influential favorite here — Telemarketing is known for throwing a few airballs, but it’s possible they could could dial it in and start scoring big. 

We hope you enjoyed meeting our Sweet 16 Channel Marketing Tactics. We had a little fun and hopefully highlighted the importance of each of these players. Ultimately, we’re glad we don’t have to pick an overall winner as each of them brings real value to the sport we call Channel Marketing.