For many companies in the technology industry, 2021 was a time to regroup and focus on maintaining existing business. With tech budgets and spending expected to increase significantly this year, the outlook for 2022 seems more optimistic across the market. According to CompTIA, channel firms anticipate driving positive growth in the next 12 months through the active acquisition of new customers. With the goal of returning to pre-pandemic growth levels, channel firms will be investing in new business models and technologies and boosting internal budgets to help them get there. As a marketing manager, now is the perfect time to reach out to your channel partners and scale your next partner marketing campaign.
Partner Marketing Campaign Success Factors
With endless vendors and distributors competing for mindshare, it can be difficult to win the attention of strong channel partners and get their commitment to market your solutions. Even when partners express interest in your marketing campaigns and using their MDF dollars, they may not have the time or necessary in-house marketing expertise to roll out the program and report on campaign performance. There are a number of success factors that can help you maximize the number of partners engaged in your upcoming marketing programs:
- Ensure the program is easy to use: Due to the time and marketing resource limitations that channel partners have, they are more likely to choose to work with those channel vendors whose marketing programs are easier to use. Outline your program details using a simple format and structure the campaign in easy to understand steps.
- Show how you add value: Partners will want to work with vendors and distributors that add value to the marketing campaigns they develop. Whether its choosing a marketing agency for the campaign that has expertise in the IT industry or highlighting the fact that campaign content is customizable, showing partners how you add value will increase the likelihood that they will participate in the campaign.
- Design the program with your partners in mind: Get to know the type of marketing content that would be the most valuable to your partners and use that information to build the options for your campaign. Some content examples include: explainer videos, infographics, social posts, blog content, or the creation of LinkedIn advertising campaigns. Designing a marketing program that supports your partners’ needs is key to increasing partner engagement.
- Identify support measures: Outline your intent to manage project details and workflows throughout the campaign to minimize partner workload and stress. Introduce your partners to the contacts from the designated marketing agency or other third party suppliers. Maintain regular communication throughout the campaign to answer any questions or concerns and to ensure partners feel supported.
5 Steps to Scale Your Next Partner Marketing Campaign
With these success factors in mind, here are 5 steps you can use to scale your next partner marketing campaign:
- Don’t overwhelm channel partners with too many campaign options.
- Giving channel partners too many options to choose from can result in decision fatigue. Defined as “the overwhelming sensation people experience when they are faced with making too many decisions,” decision fatigue can affect the quality of our decisions and impede our ability to make additional decisions. To minimize feelings of being overwhelmed, ask partners to choose an option from a set of 2 or 3 marketing packages that you put together.
- Present the options in an easy to digest format such as a PDF, landing page, or the body of an email. Include all pertinent details such as:
- Overview of the package
- Dollar value
- Marketing agency that will be doing the work
- Who to contact for more details
- Make it as turnkey as possible, including teaming them up with a marketing agency who will manage all of the moving parts.
- After sending out your offer (typically via email), set-up information calls with the interested partners.
- Be sure to outline what you are asking the partner to commit to if they accept the funds, including:
- Adherence to campaign timelines
- Participation in status calls
- Access to subject matter experts, if applicable (i.e. for content development SME interviews)
- Ask the marketing agency to join the calls to help you answer partner questions. In most cases, “partners don’t possess a dedicated marketing team or the internal skills to execute a marketing campaign,” and will require the guidance and expertise of a marketing agency. (LinkedIn)
- Set clear timelines and organize campaign workflow.
- Establish timelines with your marketing agency at the start of the campaign and communicate them to the partner to ensure everyone (vendor/distributor, partner and marketing agency) is on the same page. Having a clear plan will limit surprises when time-sensitive approvals are required and when it is time for POP (proof of performance).
- Using a project management system such as Wrike will help to manage timelines and campaign workflows, keeping your program running smoothly.
- Formalize the partner opt-in process.
- Once all of the above is outlined, and the partner decides to participate, consider formalizing the opt-in process. This could be as a simple as an email confirmation from the partner confirming they understand their obligations or something more formal.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
- Design a program with your marketing agency that can prove scalable if the campaign succeeds. Build off of your success, and increase the number of partners in a repeatable campaign. Give extra attention to the most successful and loyal partners.
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