Through-channel marketing: why it needs to be more than software

Through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) has the potential to transform the world of channel marketing. The technology offers brands a solution to the ongoing problem of channel partners that don't have the time, resources, or know-how to engage in effective marketing.

But the transformative platform alone can't address the many challenges that stand in the way of a top-notch digital marketing campaign. There are a number of moving parts that brands and partners have to address in order for through-channel marketing automation to work as intended. Above all else, through-channel marketing programs don't work unless partners get on board, and that won't happen unless brands educate partners on how through-channel marketing not only enhances marketing, but makes it significantly easier for time strapped partners.

It has to be super easy for partners

Most IT channel partners don't have the time or resources to invest in marketing. In fact, acording to one study, only 17 percent of partners report using the channel marketing platform made available to them by brands. So unless you can make clear to partners that through-channel marketing is going to require little to none of their time and budget, they're not going to be interested.

Therefore, your pitch to channel partners should focus first and foremost on how through-channel marketing programs will make marketing much easier for them. You need to explain to them that it is the brand and the solution provider who will be responsible for funding and executing the program, not them.

There has to be trust

Channel partners need to know that he information they are uploading into the system -- notable their customer list -- won't be leaked to the brand or other resellers. For them to feel secure sharing the lifeblood of their business, they need to have a good working relationship with the brand that is built on trust.

Partner-generated leads

Through-channel marketing works best when partners are engaged in generating quality leads through organic strategies. Channel partners should be engaging with IT end-buyers through traditional lead generation tactics, such as referrals and events, as well as through new strategies, notably social media.

Critically, brands and solution providers should push partners to expand their Email list and encourage subscribers and prospects to opt into their marketing campaigns. It's only when partners start engaging in organic list build that they can fully benefit from the brand-funded digital marketing campaigns. The better the list, the better through-channel marketing works.

Supporting the partner's goals

While through-channel marketing programs are funded and executed by the brand, partners need to be at the table when the campaign is being crafted. Brands need to consult with partners about how the campaign will be co-branded. What name, logo, and contact information does the partner need included on the campaign? Which customer segments do they want to target? These are important conversations that need to take place so the campaign performs at its best.

Brands should also measure the impact of the campaigns, from engagements to leads and sales. Closed loop campaign information is critical to the evolution of the campaigns.

Just as important, to maximize the impact of the campaign, brands should garner as much feedback as possible from partners about the conditions shaping the local IT market they operate in. What are they hearing from their buyers? What types of products and services are in the highest demand? This helps the brand to write compelling content and customize messaging to generate the highest possible engagement.

Quality content

Great software can’t make up for poor content. The foundation of a successful marketing campaign is content that engages the audience. Therefore, it’s crucial that brands partner with solution providers, such as OneAffiniti, that will provide a variety of well-written, accessible content that serves different segments of the end-buyer community, including stimulating thought leadership content and product promotions that cater to buyers’ needs.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt about it: through-channel marketing offers a channel marketing solution that is far superior to what brands have relied on for decades. With through-channel marketing, every partner can have a professional marketing campaign, not just the ones with the time or money to craft and execute one.

However, the technology alone can’t do all of the work. For through-channel marketing to truly work its magic, brands and solution providers first need to sell it to partners by convincing them that through-channel marketing will provide them superior marketing for much less cost and much less work. Second, brands and solution providers need to keep partners engaged to make sure that the program reflect the partner’s brand and goals and that the partner is making sure to add prospects to the email list. And above all else, the content has to be top-notch.

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.

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