In both B2B and B2C marketing arenas, channel marketers often have to work with a complicated sales process when it comes to generating leads and converting leads to customers. This means adopting a long-term view of each customer. When working with high-priced goods and services, these purchase decisions take considerable research and that means excruciatingly long lead times.
Marketing Your Marketing
Suppliers have to establish themselves as the go-to source for all of the channel marketers when it comes to nurturing the leads through that sales funnel and getting those deals closed. You, the supplier, can help your partners keep in touch with those leads by automating the marketing process to the greatest extent possible. That means delivering an integrated partner marketing platform in order to coordinate the marketing content you deliver to the lead with what the partner is offering. Make it easy for partners to provide education and support to their leads and customers, and both of you will reap the benefits.
As the supplier, you must also be able and willing to generate excitement about your partners’ marketing campaigns, products, and services. This means — you guessed it — marketing your marketing. Most suppliers simply don’t realize the time, effort, and resources it takes to make partners aware of and get them on board with the marketing campaigns. First of all, you have to develop marketing campaigns that partners can get behind. That means aligning your strategies with those of the partners. Make campaigns easy to deploy.
Campaigns That Partners Jump to Adopt
Develop campaigns that are personalized to reflect your partners’ brands. Create campaigns that are flexible and that showcase your knowledge and understanding of your partners’ niches or territories. Make it clear what value your partners bring to the equation. Be sure to include the pain points of each of your partners’ target audiences in the marketing messages, and display their unique value propositions prominently in the marketing content. Learn to be their advocate. You can customize your campaign messages and materials without watering down your own brand identity or product message. Each partner marketing message should make their use cases clear to the customer, and your partners will be clamoring to get on board with your marketing campaigns.
The key to any effective marketing strategy is to use your messages to foster trust across the channels. When partners know that their brand's messaging will be a crucial cornerstone of your campaigns and that those campaigns will meet their specifications, your job of marketing your marketing will be much easier.
Best Practices for Partner Marketing
Aside from marketing your campaigns to your partners to increase adoption, there are some other best practices that will benefit both your business and your channel partners:
- Continual Training: You are probably already training your partners on your various product lines, but do you also train them on the implementation of your joint marketing campaigns? This is just as important.
- Incentives: Be willing to offer incentives for channel partners to showcase their newly developed skills in marketing.
- Timing: Carefully consider the timing of your campaigns. How does your timeline fit in their overall schedule in terms of their seasonal fluctuations?
- Feedback: Finally, don’t forget to encourage feedback from your partners, and to truly listen and respond to that feedback. If they know you’re working hard to improve the partner marketing, they will be willing to, as well.
Originally posted on Channel Chatter
Submitted by Kiersten Hoffman, Director of Content Marketing at Zift Solutions.