Event-Only Marketing Doesn't Lead to Growth

Marketing Planning, Channel Partners, Partner Marketing

For many channel partners, their entire marketing strategy is based on hosting events. Steakhouse dinners, golf outings, and sporting events account for the majority of their "marketing" activity. There are at least two ways to evaluate this approach. From an optimistic point of view, the events can be looked as a fun way to engage prospects. From a more pessimistic point of view, these events can be seen as a huge waste of money and time on an unqualified audience.

Whichever side you sit on, these events don't support scalable growth because of several fundamental flaws:

Improve Partner Communications Using Lessons from YouTubers

Partner Communication

Attendance for monthly partner update calls is at an all-time low. And it’s no wonder. Channel partners, like everyone else, have many priorities competing for their time. Why should they spend an hour with you once a month or even once a quarter? Why not just wait for the recording? We’re all so used to Netflix binge watching and other on-demand content that there’s very little need to gather together for live experiences.

But when people do gather together, live, there’s an opportunity to share energy and that’s the number one thing you should be trying to do with your partners.

Chatbots in the Channel

Chatbots, Channel Partners

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, there are several applications that are becoming common due to the low cost and accessibility of AI-based platforms from Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Amazon. Among the many opportunities for sales and marketing, chatbots and virtual assistants are emerging as a way for companies to provide better customer service at a lower cost.

For brands who go to market with and through channel partners, chatbots can be utilized to service your channel partners and their customers and prospects.

7 Scenarios for Blockchain in the Channel

Channel Marketing, Blockchain, Channel Partners

With mainstream awareness of blockchain-based products and services increasing thanks to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there’s a lot of buzz about the decentralized technology but very little understanding of what it is and its potential as a disruptive force.

I have been spending some time thinking about what blockchain-based channel tools could mean for brands and their channel partners. All relationships require trust to be successful. And transactions of any kind between two parties require trust, but it’s not always easy, especially given the ups and downs of typical business relationships.

According to Mike Orcutt writing for the MIT Technology Review, “the whole point of using a blockchain is to let people—in particular, people who don’t trust one another—share valuable data in a secure, tamper proof way.”

Blockchain-based systems are potential game-changers for indirect channels. They offer the potential for transparent, trusted and accountable partnerships. But they don’t exist yet, so for now, it’s interesting to consider the possibilities.

There Are Two Types of CMOs When It Comes to Channel Marketing. Which Is Yours?

Inbound Channel Marketing, Channel Strategy, Executive Engagement

No matter what role you hold in your company, having the support of the C-level executive you roll up into makes your job easier, especially when it comes to securing funds and resources for programs and campaigns. But before you go make your pitch, it’s important to consider who you’re presenting to. A common theme I’ve noticed among channel marketers is that they say their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) fall into one of two categories: CMOs who “get” the channel and those who don’t.

CMOs who “get” the channel understand the role of channel partners as they relate to the strategic aspects of partners as a route to market as well as how best to leverage channel partners specifically for sales and marketing execution. These CMOs typically have a background where they have worked with channel partners at some point in their career, whether their past roles were in field marketing or in a specific channel marketing role that put them in close contact with partners.

6 Steps to Effective Channel Partner Training

Channel Enablement

Imagine you're hired as a new employee. On your first day, you’re sent off to your desk with little more than directions to the nearest bathroom. At the same time, you’re expected to hit the ground running and do your job well.

Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, it’s true for many of us, at some point in our careers. Regrettably, the same goes for many channel partners.

Many companies neglect to ensure that their channel partners are not just receiving content but reading and using it to its maximum potential .

Drive Channel Partner Sales Success with Content

Content Marketing, Channel Enablement, Channel Partners

The digital landscape is a crowded place. Even established brands can get lost in the cacophony of content that fills the Internet if they don't have a clear content plan. Useful, helpful and engaging content is paramount. Sharing content through channel partners offers additional opportunities to stand out. Here's how to help channel partners become more successful with content:

Announcing the Channel Scorecard, a Tool to Benchmark Programs

Best Practices, Channel Strategy

One of the themes we discuss in Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives is that many of us in the channel are somewhat unsure of whether we’re performing well. After all, like many careers, there’s no manual that comes with the job.

In discussing this challenge with some channel peers, we came up with the idea for a scorecard tool that channel professionals could use to self-assess their efforts across a series of categories. The premise is simple enough: answer a few questions, figure out where you stand, and get some advice about how to get to the next level.

The Influence of Natural Selection on Partner Marketing

Channel Strategy, Channel Marketing, Inbound Marketing

In a recent LinkedIn post, Larry Walsh, CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group shared his perspective that brands aren’t responsible for transforming their partners’ businesses. As the tech industry shifts its delivery of solutions to the cloud, and as customers shift their buying preferences from purchases (capital expenses) to subscriptions (operating expenses) channel partners must evolve their sales processes, compensation, and solution delivery models to suit the needs of modern buyers. Not making these changes will cause partners to lose relevance in the market and they’re likely to shrink rather than grow their customer base.

Walsh suggests that there is a role for brands to play, but it’s different than taking responsibility.