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Economic uncertainty is causing many organizations to double-down on marketing efforts. Channel marketing activities are becoming increasingly valuable within hyper-competitive verticals like technology and software. For companies that rely on channel partners to generate the lion share of revenue, this is the perfect time to create new channel marketing strategies.
The goal of any channel partner marketing campaign is to generate awareness, gain trust, and acquire more customers. As a channel leader, you can accomplish these goals by highlighting the ways that your partnership adds value to the end customer. Channel marketing should communicate how you and your partners deliver a superior shared experience to the end customer.
Creation of brand guidelines
Before embarking on channel marketing strategies, put guidelines in place. Brand guidelines serve as guard rails while launching campaigns and creating joint marketing efforts with partners. For co-marketing efforts, make sure these guidelines are balanced. Balance is important because you want to give your partners the freedom to customize your message to their audience while also streamlining your brand.
Tip: Basic brand guidelines usually include design rules like logo, colors, and approved slogans. Beyond design parameters, go a step further with your partners. Give them ideas on how to promote your brand. Inspire them by showing them examples of other partners successfully promoting your brand. This type of collaboration proves your investment in the partnership.
Content creation is a central component in any channel marketing strategy. Traditionally, partners exchange target prospect or existing customer lists to market to each other’s audiences. The trading of these lists requires a foundation of trust to be established, which may not be possible with new partners. Creating content surpasses this obstacle by eliminating the need to exchange lists. You and your partners can create co-branded content and send it to your lists. The result is expanding your reach while avoiding overlap.
Tip: Take the opportunity to appear in each other’s newsletters and email blasts. Agree on a cadence, such as monthly or bi-monthly. Guest blogging is another excellent way to reach wider audiences. Blogging is less intrusive and can be done more frequently than email blasts. When it comes to whitepapers and case studies, gate your content to generate new leads.
For the time being, webinars and online events are replacing tradeshows and conferences. While meeting people in person is temporarily on hold, online functions allow you to team up with partners on co-marketing efforts and strengthen your relationship. Addressing your audiences directly through webinar will enable you to stand out to your customers and prospects. These joint efforts ensure prospects will remember you and your partner as a team when it comes time to buy.
Tip: Today, webinar hosts enlist multiple speakers to offer their expertise. Having several presenters from different companies can give you an advantage because you’re offering differing, valuable perspectives. Webinars are a low-cost, efficient way to collaborate with partners.
Digital marketing efforts
Digital marketing is a vital component of any channel partner marketing strategy. There are very few, if any, businesses that wouldn’t benefit from an increase in their online presence. As a channel marketing strategy, it’s wise to offer paid advertising and other online visibility opportunities to partners. Offering paid ad opportunities proves your investment in partners and further builds the relationship. Digital marketing is a prime method of marketing the partnership and presenting yourselves as a united front to your audiences.
Tip: Offer your partners a spot on your newsletter and ad space on your sites. An even better option is to designate an entire partnership section or page on each others’ websites. The goal is to inform the customer of special pricing or deals that result from your partnership.
Channel partner marketing activities strengthen partnerships and grow awareness around your collaboration. Highlight the benefits that the end customer receives as a result of your partnership. By creating brand guidelines, you set parameters for all marketing efforts, which makes them consistent and streamlined. By creating shared content that resonates with both of your audiences, both companies can grow their reach. Digital marketing is the most effective method for joint promotions like webinars and landing pages. Implementing these tips and best practices allows you to receive the most ROI on your channel marketing activities.
Want to learn more about channel partner marketing activities and best practices? Read our eBook “Must Have Marketing Strategies for PRM” for information on how to create an engaging and successful marketing strategy.
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