For the past seven years or so, channel marketers have focused on brand consistency, resource/asset management and access, and availability of digital solutions, like ad builders, for an on-demand environment. The accrued benefits supposedly were cost savings, speed and efficiency.
But there’s so much opportunity that hasn’t even been touched. And so much money going unspent—some say up to $25 billion.
Efficient, productive, profitable channel marketing starts with strategy. Have you determined which strategies are both successful and affordable? Have you hashed out how you can implement those strategies in local markets? And how do they drive increased partner participation?
Partnership also means sharing. Many companies live with modest 10–20% partner participation. However, some are operating at 70-85% participation, or greater. Amazing numbers, but possible. Higher levels of participation mean increased sharing of voice. That boosts brand awareness and sales, and makes you competitive against the big boys with larger budgets.
That brings us to the big picture. Strategic America has learned that channel marketing works best to everyone’s advantage when we design programs to push out strategic opportunities that are seen as relevant, actionable and locally oriented for maximum lead generation opportunities.
That’s where the action is: purposeful, comprehensive, easy-to-adopt branded marketing that moves the meter. Best part? It’s all very possible for companies that want to move in that direction. It does require a degree of technology, but that technology is just a means to an end.
The program must be backed by service. Dealers/agents/contractors/retailers are busy and don’t want to learn about another corporate program that that requires them to change. By respecting the channel and the relationship by making the program easy to understand and engaging while saving administrative time, companies can realize greater participation.
However, without a knowledgeable customer service component built in that is readily available to strategic partners, answers their questions promptly and thoroughly, and asks for the order, the whiz-bang, high-tech program will not achieve success.
About the author:
John Schreurs is Chief Operating Officer and President of Strategic America, a full-service, integrated marketing and communications company that delivers performance solutions to its clients across Iowa and the U.S. In addition to setting and administering corporate operations for the agency, John takes an active role in account management, including development of new sales promotions and media strategies for several regional and national clients. His insights and solutions mindset of integrating sales, operations, finance and marketing is strategic and provides results and long-term value for SA clients.