Digital First: Channel Partners Want Digital Marketing Above All Else
In late 2018, OneAffiniti commissioned a survey of 100 brands and channel partners by Forrester Consulting, the internationally-renowned market research agency. In a series of blog posts, we will examine the key findings of the Forrester study, such as:
- The reasons so many partners do not use brand-provided through-channel marketing platforms
- The top challenges that partners face in executing marketing campaigns
- The importance of incentives in motivating channel partners to conduct marketing
- How brands can engage partners by offering services
In this post, we’ll delve into the final takeaway of the Forrester study: of all the types of marketing available, channel partners want and need the most help with digital marketing.
Digital ranks far above other forms of marketing
When Forrester asked channel partners what type of marketing activities they planned to execute as part of brand campaigns, the top three responses all referenced the digital realm: 71% said email marketing, 55% said online and social media advertising, and 51% said SEO/SEM.
Traditional forms of marketing draw far less interest from channel partners. Only 33% said they plan to execute print media activities, while 25% have plans to do radio advertisements and 14% have plans for TV.
Digital is proven demand generation
One of the major challenges for brands that the Forrester report highlighted is that many channel partners are using through-channel marketing primarily to retain customers and increase references, rather than to drive increased demand.
Digital marketing is an absolute must for channel partners seeking to expand their customer base and increase revenue. Monthly digital marketing campaigns ensure continuous communication with end-buyers in a way that traditional forms of marketing cannot. As a result, partners can communicate with and gain the trust of end-buyers as they move through different stages of the buying cycle.
Digital campaigns must integrate with in-house content services
For brands to help partners deliver high-quality digital marketing efforts, they must ensure that their through-channel marketing solutions easily integrate with partners’ existing systems, including popular content platforms such as Hubspot and Marketo.
Just as important, it’s key that brand marketing platforms be as user-friendly as possible, ideally demanding no more than five minutes of a channel partner’s time each month to approve and schedule a digital marketing campaign. Small and mid-size channel partners do not have dedicated marketing staff and may forgo marketing altogether if they have to devote significant time or attention to navigating a marketing platform or crafting a digital campaign. The brand’s job is to make it a simple, painless process.
Explore the Forrester study further
Brands do not need to accept that so few of their channel partners will take advantage of their marketing platforms. Low utilization should not be a given. Instead, it is a symptom of flaws in how brands are trying to engage with partners. If you’re interested in further exploring the findings of the Forrester report, including how brands can improve the situation, check out the Forrester report in its entirety or take a look at the four additional articles we’ve published examining some of the study’s most significant findings. The next article focuses on the major challenges that partners face in executing marketing campaigns.