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3 Rules for Engaging Channel Partners with Content

What’s the most effective macro-strategy for getting the right content to your channel partners? With dozens of marketing vehicles at your disposal and an increasingly large volume of versatile content pieces, you have a choice of two strategies:

Concentrate on the 2 or 3 vehicles that generate the highest ROI

This is a poor choice in today’s economy. It’s comparable to Kraft spending all of its television advertising budget on network programming. Sure, network programming still has higher overall viewership than niche cable channels, but the niches serve a purpose. Kraft’s Chipotle salad dressing is going to appeal more strongly to The Food Network and Fox Sports Southwest viewers. Niches may have more avid followers, and passions that may align more perfectly with your content and brand voice. Niches are also where you’ll find evangelists who can help to grow your brand.

Or spread your marketing “seeds” far and wide, like a dandelion in the wind

If you’re older than 35, this approach is counterintuitive. You want to aim for the fences, not hedge your bets with a scattershot approach that can only produce singles, right?

Not today. Forget the old “scattershot marketing” stigma, along with everything you’ve learned about creating big wins. You and your channel partners don’t know where your potential customers are at any given time. You also can’t predict which content will go viral – today’s version of the home run. Success is less predictable, but you still need to create opportunities. The dandelion approach enables you to spread low-cost seeds to as many places as possible, maximizing your possible opportunities.

So how should you employ the dandelion approach with your channel partners?

  1. Engage in Social Communities

Just as Guy Fieri delivers his hot-sauce loving fans on a Mexican combo platter to Kraft, specialized communities online and in the real world are where you’ll find passionate prospects and powerful influencers. Online, you’ll find them in social media groups and discussion forums. Offline, you’ll find them in vendor and distributor groups, associations, and organizations.

Engage in dialogues, form relationships, and harness the power of implied group endorsement that results. Employ effective public speakers to captivate real world audiences, and writers with as much personality as subject matter expertise to engage with your customers and prospects online. Your content and your message can spread like wildfire if it appeals to emotion as well as reason, and if the delivery gets people talking.

  1. Use Automation Tools

Channel marketing is still behind the curve in its adaptation of marketing automation tools. A powerful sales enablement platform like Bridge Metrics, will allow you to set automatic triggers based on partners’ and their prospects’ behaviors. The right content will be automatically dispersed to the right people, at the right times, through Ready to Launch (RTL) and nurture campaigns. Now, each prospect and customer feels catered to, without your organization exhausting the human, time, and financial resources this would take without automation technology. Marketing automation is simply too powerful and cost-effective to limit to your direct channel.

  1. Use Mobile Technology

The vast majority of sales representatives in both direct and indirect channels are on the go. Most prefer to receive content through their mobile devices, as long as they have the tools to easily share this information with prospects and customers. While most channel vendors still don’t have the technology to leverage this golden opportunity, a sales enablement platform like Bridge Metrics gives you this control, and will likely make you a preferred vendor to your most active channel representatives.

Many vendor executives, upon coming to the conclusion that they should distribute marketing resources using the “dandelion” approach, worry about resourcing. Adopting automation tools and mobile technology makes resourcing cost-effective. But don’t take that from me. Ask your peers online in the marketing automation social media groups what they think.

Or, you can learn more now by calling a Bridge Metrics executive at 877.801.7158.

About the author

Alan Margulis

Sales Enablement Columnist

Alan Margulis is a frequent contributor, specializing in sales enablement, channel marketing, and software.

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