Channel partners, many of whom are launching digital marketing activities for the first time, can often put too much thought and planning into their campaigns which can lead to delays or a complete failure to launch. They often overthink marketing because of their inexperience. There's very little risk to launching a variety of activities and then waiting to see what prospects respond to. In your planning, you should consider how you can help partners move forward. By addressing common concerns and issues, brands can help channel partners create more marketing activity and start to realize the benefits of a multi-threaded digital demand generation campaign.
As you plan for next year, you may find that there are large, blank stretches on the calendar where nothing much is happening. Product launches, customer and partner conferences, and industry events dot the calendar, much like holidays did for you as a child (and likely still as an adult).
So, what do we have to look forward to? How do we break up the time? The answer is simple. There are three types of channel marketing programs you’re going to want to run next year. But before we get into the programs, it’s important to consider the needs of channel partners and how best to engage them with support and direction.
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:
To assist with planning for next year, SiriusDecisions, a global business-to-business research and advisory firm, has published the research brief, Channel Marketing: Planning Assumptions 2019.
Whether you have school-age children or not, there’s a school and holiday calendar that everyone follows that affects when people have their focus on work. This calendar impacts you, your channel partners, and customers. Rather than fight the calendar, I recommend being aware of the cycle we all follow so you can make the most of the time for you and your partners.
Here’s my take on when things happen and when they don’t:
As you map out your plans for this year, you’re making decisions about allocating the time and resources of your team. You’re taking the time to connect your tactical plan to your company’s goals to ensure there’s alignment and you’re doing your part to drive measurable results. You want to be dependable and accountable, someone that the company can count on to deliver.
There’s probably one question you’re not asking yourself – What risks will I take?
As you make your plans, you’re constantly assessing the risk associated with your tactics. Will this work? Will it produce the anticipated results? How can I mitigate the risk and guarantee success?
The calendar year is closing, and for many of us, it’s time to finalize plans for next year and gear up for our first campaigns of the new year.
Since everyone has a boss, I’m sure you have to present your plan for approval and funding.
As you prepare for that meeting, I offer the following advice to help make your presentation a success:
- Show that you understand what you’re supposed to deliver to the business. Your plan should connect with the company’s goals or key initiatives. Don’t make your boss connect the dots between your plan and what the company is trying to do. Make it easy for them to see the connection.
As I’ve grown in my career, I, like many others, wanted to make the pivot from being in an execution role to one that is more strategic. I’ve been successful in doing go, moving into more senior and more strategic roles. I’ve had a lot of fun and worked on some very rewarding initiatives. But the hard part of making this transition is giving up my role in working on the execution plans and getting my hands dirty. When you enjoy developing the execution plans and carrying them out, it can be hard to let go when you find yourself in a strategic role.