7 Crucial Channel Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Apurva Pathak | February 28, 2022 | 720 views

Channel Marketing Strategy
Tracey Noonan and Danielle Vilagie started Wicked Good Cupcakes after taking a cake-decorating class together and enjoying it immensely. Wicked Good Cupcakes wanted to serve customers out of town. They came up with the ‘portable cupcake in a jar’ concept to safely ship their cupcakes. They hired C Squared Social, a digital agency, to run their online campaigns so they could generate new leads and increase their reach.

C Squared, in turn, partnered with Facebook Business Partner Zapier. Zapier used Facebook’s innovative lead ad functions to stitch together CRM, email marketing, and team messaging tools. This was done to capture every opportunity for Wicked Good Cupcakes.

Through its channel partner Zapier, Facebook facilitated an end customer with a 94% lower average cost per lead, a 24% contact response rate from leads, and a 48x increase in leads in just 3.5 months from the launch of the campaign. This is the power of channel partnership.

But how did Zapier know what features from Facebook’s marketing offerings it could use to deliver amazing results for Wicked Good Cupcakes? It’s because Facebook has vetted Zapier to advertise, sell, and engage end customers with Facebook’s offerings. Facebook did this by using effective to-partner marketing.

Let us now explore channel partner marketing in detail.


What is Channel Partner Marketing?

Channel partners are intermediaries between your product and the end customer. Channel partner marketing uses methods to promote products or services to channel partners or to end customers through channel partners. This kind of marketing considers the manufacturer’s expectations, requirements, and goals, channel partners, and their audiences.

In a recent interview with Media 7, Sam O’Brien, CMO at Affise, talked about partner marketing.

Partner market has huge growth at the moment. It's really taken off, and still, it seems quite complex to people. We're giving companies a faster way to start Partner Marketing. Find the partners you want to work with, or the publishers, or creators, or affiliates, to promote your business.”

Sam O’Brien, CMO at Affise

If you use an effective partner marketing strategy, you want to make sure that everyone involved in a channel partnership is happy.


Why Should Channel Partner Marketing be a Priority?

54% of companies say partnerships drive more than 20% of total company revenue. (Source: Partnerize). To drive revenue, marketing is important. Here are some of the reasons why channel partners should make channel partner marketing a priority:

  • The way customers or businesses zero-in on a product or service has changed. When it comes to technology products or other professional services, audiences rely on finding the best alternative online.
  • This intensifies the competition for channel partners. They need to beat regional, national, non-traditional, online, and local competitors to land a sale.
  • Marketing technology has also evolved dramatically. It is a dynamic mix of thought leadership, search authority, and expert lead generation to create measurable results.

Channel partners need to focus on marketing and invest effort, resources, and time to keep up with the changing trends, or fall short in the market.


Benefits of an Effective Channel Marketing Strategy

Let us look at what an effective channel marketing strategy can do for your business:

  • Gain access to your partners’ audiences.
  • Channel partner marketing is affordable as compared to other forms of marketing.
  • Present value-added offerings (your partner’s) to your existing audience.
  • Access a bigger team that works for your success.
  • Use the unique resources that your partners have.
  • Increase trust in your brand by collaborating with the right partners.
  • Enhance your distribution channels with the help of your partners.


Look into These Factors Before Creating a Channel Marketing Strategy

A good channel partnership can help you scale your business. To enhance the results of your partnership, creating an effective channel marketing strategy is crucial. Here are things you should take into consideration before you create a strategy:

  • Solid C-Suite Commitment
Help your channel partners grow their businesses! There is no better way to form long-lasting partnerships. To make this happen, you need to invest your time in getting C-Suite buy-in in advance so that you can secure their commitment and resources to develop and implement your partner marketing strategy.

  • Smooth On-boarding
Welcome your partners to your channel program with proactive communication and engagement. Creating a welcome kit as your first touchpoint could be a great idea. The contents of this kit can be based on the solutions you provide and your business model. Be a no-hassle channel partner.

  • Identify Pain Points
For existing partners, identify their pain points like low partner engagement, abandoned campaigns, unutilized market development fund (MDF), ineffective campaigns, and metric measurement challenges. Other difficulties may arise, such as communication, effective lead scoring, and qualifying them. Your partner marketing strategy should offer solutions to these problems.

  • Focus on Your Content
Amplify your brand with high-quality content. Generate interest and maintain mindshare using content marketing pieces like blogs, flyers, data sheets, case studies, e-books, whitepapers, videos, webinars and more. Automate your social and digital campaigns using content platforms, and create a content factory that can be managed using channel marketing management software. Help partners by providing them with marketing agency assistance so they can use good content to market your products.


Partner Marketing Strategy: 7 Crucial Channel Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Now that we have established what goes into a partner marketing plan, let us look at seven best practices that can make your channel marketing strategy successful:


Align Marketing and Channel Objectives

You can define the success of your partnership using factors like active, new, engaged partners, and channel revenue. They should be the foundation of your partner marketing plan. This way, you can align your marketing and channel goals and invest in your partnership resources better. Tracking the dollars invested in marketing and enhancing partner production gives an insight into where to invest. When there are partnerships that go across countries, working together well with the local channel manager and big business sellers is the key to success and output.


Decide Baselines & Metrics

For your channel marketing campaign, establish appropriate baselines and chase improvements in relative performance because campaign-level ROI measurements can be challenging. Metrics like partner adoption of created assets and content, and partner metrics in lead generation can be tracked using PRM tools. Email metrics and leads generated are other metrics that can help you measure the success of your partner marketing plan. The ultimate metric should be the end-user satisfaction rate because it directly translates to a low churn rate. 


Become a Revenue Marketer

Invest your time in customizing and spinning your high-quality, professional-level content assets for your sales organization and channel partners. This can help you tap into the potential ROI of each of your content pieces. Over time, it can add up significantly to your marketing performance. Impactful content is greatly enhanced by channel marketing. If you use it to target partners, you can gain partner mind share and create revenue opportunities that you might have otherwise missed. You can pair this type of soft marketing with the hard marketing that the C-Suite prefers.

Map Partner Performance

Ensure that you map individual partner performance in your assessments to get insights into what is working in your partner program and which partner strengths you can bank on and focus. Check how many deals are closing through the channel, and how many new opportunities are coming through your partners. If a partner isn’t doing much for the program, that partner is probably draining your resources. Take notice of your new partners’ performance in your channel marketing campaign over a set period to see what they are doing for you and the partner revenue.

Keep Your ‘To’ and ‘Through’ Sorted

When you look at your to-partners’ side, you aim to drive leads, and market qualified leads from a marketing and sales angle. You are also considering the cost per lead, what the partner did convert or lose, and why the partner came to you or why they didn’t. As for the through angle, your only point of analysis is the customer engagement and the satisfaction the partner has achieved through the partnership. Ensure you know why some partners are more successful than others, how many campaigns run through your platform, and how many of your partners are active on your PRM platform. Once you know what you need to look at from both angles, you are sorted and can run your marketing strategy effectively.

Embed Engagement into Your Program

Engagement is key to any partner alliance. Embedding engagement through to-partner marketing can enhance the channel partnership program. You need to plan, train, and gather feedback on your ‘to’ and ‘through’ channel marketing tactics. Some ways to embed engagement into the channel partnership programs are:

  • Creating bundled marketing campaigns with product training to improve lead follow-up
  • Co-partner marketing to drive thought leadership
  • Transparent to-partner communications
  • Partner advisory councils that focus on sales and marketing
  • Quarterly feedback surveys to enhance partner marketing processes
  • Executive sponsorship for key partners.


Constantly Enhance Your Strategy

Seek improvement in your channel marketing strategy by referring to your baselines and other KPIs. Measuring the baseline engagements will not only help you improve your strategy but it will also shed light on potential issues that may impede progress and growth. Keep an eye on what the partner revenue numbers look like, what kind of demand generation content they are leveraging, the webinars or events they are attending, and if they are mentioning you on their social media. Any big dips in numbers or engagement will help you redirect your efforts to what is causing the sudden shift.


Wrapping It Up

A channel partnership is a give and get kind of association. To get the most out of it, you need to focus on marketing strategies that target your partners and your end customers. Enhance your partnership by planning, reaffirming partnership goals, revamping your marketing strategy from time to time, and earning partner mindshare.


FAQ


What is channel marketing?

Channel marketing includes to-channel marketing and through-channel marketing. To-channel marketing means recruiting and engaging sales partners, distributors, and their networks. Through-channel marketing means you market your products and services to end customers through your sales channel.


What factors should you consider before creating a partner marketing strategy?

Consider factors like abandoned campaigns, under-utilized MDF, ineffective campaigns, low partner engagement, and lack of visibility, measurement issues, lead qualifying and scoring, effective communication with end customers, and delivering professional marketing information to end customers.


How can you improve your channel marketing strategy?

Establish baselines to measure the success, look at partner revenue, demand generation content downloads, and partner social media mentions and find out the areas that need your attention. Revamp your strategy based on these insights.

Spotlight

Saglus

Saglus offers marketing automation solutions to automate Visitor Engagement, Lead Acquisition & Customer Retention for marketers and small businesses in a smart way.

OTHER ARTICLES
MARKETING STRATEGY

Kentucky Teen Once Subject of Viral Video Warns Republicans of 'Outrage Mob'

Article | April 21, 2022

A Kentucky teen who became the subject of a viral video after an incident during a class field trip to Washington, D.C., warned viewers of the Republican National Convention Tuesday of an "outrage mob" that threatens to silence conservative viewpoints. After Nick Sandmann attended the March for Life anti-abortion rally with his former classmates from Covington Catholic High School in January 2019, a cellphone video of a close, face-to-face interaction between the students and a Native American demonstrator spread quickly online.

Read More
MARKETING STRATEGY

How Community Coalitions Are Bridging the Digital Divide

Article | December 20, 2021

Across the country, local networks known as Education Innovation Clusters (EdClusters) are bringing together partners and resources to meet urgent needs and envision a new future for teaching and learning. Many of these efforts are rooted in long-standing partnerships across sectors and institutions. As COVID-19 disrupted the lives of students, educators, and families earlier this year, EdClusters sprang into action, leveraging their capacity and reach in ways their networks were uniquely ready to do. Their collective efforts are meeting a range of needs—from internet access to devices to social-emotional supports. As schools prepare for uncertain and complex reopenings, we turn to Kansas City and Rhode Island for powerful examples of community in action.

Read More
MARKETING STRATEGY

How Educators Kept Students on Track During Remote Learning

Article | December 29, 2021

This spring, COVID-19 led administrators across the country to close school buildings and support students learning from home. We asked three educators about how they handled this disruption and found creative solutions to keep students motivated and engaged using the online literacy program, Reading Plus. We looked at what we had at our disposal that would help with reading, the overall environment, and engagement. In the past, we used Reading Plus as an intervention. We considered how we could utilize it with more students during distance learning.

Read More

THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN SEO 2020

Article | February 10, 2020

We all are surrounded by Artificial Intelligence. From Siri to Alexa to Google Home, it’s influencing the age we live in and giving higher prospects to execute every task smartly. Most of us nowadays rely on voice search for help even in the simplest tasks. So, how Artificial Intelligence is competent in SEO? How can it manipulate Search Engine Rankings? Have you ever come across the use of Artificial Intelligence in SEO?

Read More

Spotlight

Saglus

Saglus offers marketing automation solutions to automate Visitor Engagement, Lead Acquisition & Customer Retention for marketers and small businesses in a smart way.

Related News

CHANNEL PARTNERSHIPS

Snow Software’s New Global Partner Program Expands Snow Channel Ecosystem

Snow Software | February 02, 2023

On February 1, 2023, Snow Software, one of the global leaders in technology intelligence announced a new global partner program. It is designed to enable customer support from partners to help them with complex market challenges around managing cost and mitigating risk while driving more effective and efficient value with Snow. The goal of the new partner program is to compel exponential growth in the Snow channel ecosystem, building new opportunities for partners to tap into a growing and estimated Technology Intelligence market of $11.5 billion. The new Snow partner program is developed in collaboration with its current channel ecosystem, which includes encouraging the creation of value-added services, better support for multiple business models of partners and driving tangible customer success by utilizing Snow technology. In addition, the new program has additional partner incentives and rewards than the current program, and it simplifies collaboration with Snow to deliver value to shared customers better. The partner portal will have real-time dashboards that show each partner's track record of success and specialties. This will give customers information about which partners are best for their needs. With the new framework, there will be no channel conflicts; it will empower the channel partners to build new, value-add services and will work closely with wider Snow teams to drive customer success. The additional benefits of using the program include sales rewards and points system, shadowing programs, self-service capabilities, business development funds to promote partner sales, free snow e-learning access, and ongoing recognition and reward opportunities for joint customer success stories. About Snow Software Founded in 1997, Snow Software innovates technology consumption. Its technology intelligence platform provides comprehensive visibility and contextual insight across software, SaaS, hardware, and the cloud. The software platform enables IT leaders for operational agility in a hybrid world, effective resource optimization, and enhanced performance. In addition to the program, Snow is committed to releasing new product features designed to help its partner community. Also, with the introduction of new capabilities of Snow Atlas, partners can improve and support customers with better collaboration features.

Read More

CONTENT MARKETING, MARKETING STRATEGY

Impartner Enhances Partner Marketing Automation with 'Do it for Me' Options

Impartner | January 06, 2023

Impartner, a provider of partner relationship management (PRM) solutions, has updated its partner marketing automation (PMA) platform to include more "Do it for Me" options to automate co-selling and co-marketing. These updates are included in Impartner's Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) platform, which was recently named a leader in the G2 2023 Winter Reports. The new "Do it for Me" automation options provide partners with pre-built content, campaigns, and materials to help them collaborate on co-selling and co-marketing initiatives. The PMA platform now includes a "Do it for me" option for email marketing, allowing partners with no marketing experience to share their marketing contact lists with a vendor and opt-in to hands-off email campaigns sent on their behalf. This will help partners market their products and services more quickly and with less effort than ever before. "Anyone without any marketing experience can use Impartner for joint marketing with channel partners. For most marketing, partners opt-in, send a couple of assets, and the system does the rest—the brand updates the content. We've also created a 'Do it for me' option, making our PMA platform the most partner-friendly marketing automation system available." Gary Sabin, VP of Product at Impartner The PMA platform also includes Promotion Syndication, which allows brands to create a library of banner ads that partners can use and helps companies manage co-marketing efforts more effectively. In addition, Impartner has added a "Get Started" tab to its Marketing Center with video tutorials and a dashboard to show progress toward key performance indicators. All these changes to the PMA platform make it easier for partners to market their products and services quickly and efficiently. About Impartner Impartner is the fastest-growing and most award-winning provider of channel management technologies. Its flagship Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Partner Marketing Automation solutions help companies around the world manage their relationships with partners, drive demand through partners, and speed up revenue and profitability through indirect sales channels. It is based out of Utah

Read More

CHANNEL PARTNERSHIPS

Gigamon Announces Channel Award Winners at Sales Kick-off Event 2023

Gigamon | February 01, 2023

One of the leading deep observability companies, Gigamon, recently announced its Channel Award winners in the annual sales kick-off event in San Diego (California). Each partner played a very important role in the company's market growth and drove Gigamon as the industry-leading deep observability vendor, with a 68% market share in 2022's first half. The Gigamon Channel Awards highlights distributors who helped deliver industry-leading solutions to customers worldwide and emphasizes the outstanding success of the top-performing partners. The Sales Kick-off event's Channel Award winners include Trace3 as 2022 Americas Partner of the Year, Layer 8 Solutions titled as 2022 Americas Regional Partner of the year, ST Engineering as 2022 APAC Partner of the Year, Mannai Corporation wins 2022 EMEA Partner of the Year, Blackwood Associates, Inc. as Public Sector- 2022 Partner of the Year, World Wide Technology wins 2022 Global Partner of the year, Timothy Wong Kwai Hoong as 2022 Top Gigamon Community Partner and the last one was to Carahsoft Technology Corporation as 2022 Distributor of the Year. The Gigamon Partner Program has received five-star ratings four times in a row among the CRN's Partner Program and four in a row CRN Women of the Channel recognitions. In addition, the company has been awarded three consecutive years for the CRN Channel Chief list. It also won the 2020 Channel Partner Top 10 Up award and was named one of CRN's Power 100 - Topmost Powerful Women in the Channel in 2019. “Our channel-first strategy is a fundamental component of our business plan and we are fortunate to work alongside over 1,000 global partners that are focused on delivering industry leading solutions backed by unparalleled support. We are proud to recognize the impact that each of our top partners is having on their customers’ cloud transformation journeys,” said Doug Woodley, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Gigamon. (Source: Business Wire) About Gigamon Founded in 2004, Gigamon enables organizations to function fast, stay innovative and secure. The company delivers unified network visibility and analytics on all the data in transit. It helps in aggregation, transformation and analysis of network traffic to meet the customers' critical performance rapid threat detection and response needs in physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure. Gigamon has over 4,000 customers worldwide, including over 80% of the Fortune 100, 9 of the ten biggest mobile network providers, and hundreds of governments and schools.

Read More

CHANNEL PARTNERSHIPS

Snow Software’s New Global Partner Program Expands Snow Channel Ecosystem

Snow Software | February 02, 2023

On February 1, 2023, Snow Software, one of the global leaders in technology intelligence announced a new global partner program. It is designed to enable customer support from partners to help them with complex market challenges around managing cost and mitigating risk while driving more effective and efficient value with Snow. The goal of the new partner program is to compel exponential growth in the Snow channel ecosystem, building new opportunities for partners to tap into a growing and estimated Technology Intelligence market of $11.5 billion. The new Snow partner program is developed in collaboration with its current channel ecosystem, which includes encouraging the creation of value-added services, better support for multiple business models of partners and driving tangible customer success by utilizing Snow technology. In addition, the new program has additional partner incentives and rewards than the current program, and it simplifies collaboration with Snow to deliver value to shared customers better. The partner portal will have real-time dashboards that show each partner's track record of success and specialties. This will give customers information about which partners are best for their needs. With the new framework, there will be no channel conflicts; it will empower the channel partners to build new, value-add services and will work closely with wider Snow teams to drive customer success. The additional benefits of using the program include sales rewards and points system, shadowing programs, self-service capabilities, business development funds to promote partner sales, free snow e-learning access, and ongoing recognition and reward opportunities for joint customer success stories. About Snow Software Founded in 1997, Snow Software innovates technology consumption. Its technology intelligence platform provides comprehensive visibility and contextual insight across software, SaaS, hardware, and the cloud. The software platform enables IT leaders for operational agility in a hybrid world, effective resource optimization, and enhanced performance. In addition to the program, Snow is committed to releasing new product features designed to help its partner community. Also, with the introduction of new capabilities of Snow Atlas, partners can improve and support customers with better collaboration features.

Read More

CONTENT MARKETING, MARKETING STRATEGY

Impartner Enhances Partner Marketing Automation with 'Do it for Me' Options

Impartner | January 06, 2023

Impartner, a provider of partner relationship management (PRM) solutions, has updated its partner marketing automation (PMA) platform to include more "Do it for Me" options to automate co-selling and co-marketing. These updates are included in Impartner's Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) platform, which was recently named a leader in the G2 2023 Winter Reports. The new "Do it for Me" automation options provide partners with pre-built content, campaigns, and materials to help them collaborate on co-selling and co-marketing initiatives. The PMA platform now includes a "Do it for me" option for email marketing, allowing partners with no marketing experience to share their marketing contact lists with a vendor and opt-in to hands-off email campaigns sent on their behalf. This will help partners market their products and services more quickly and with less effort than ever before. "Anyone without any marketing experience can use Impartner for joint marketing with channel partners. For most marketing, partners opt-in, send a couple of assets, and the system does the rest—the brand updates the content. We've also created a 'Do it for me' option, making our PMA platform the most partner-friendly marketing automation system available." Gary Sabin, VP of Product at Impartner The PMA platform also includes Promotion Syndication, which allows brands to create a library of banner ads that partners can use and helps companies manage co-marketing efforts more effectively. In addition, Impartner has added a "Get Started" tab to its Marketing Center with video tutorials and a dashboard to show progress toward key performance indicators. All these changes to the PMA platform make it easier for partners to market their products and services quickly and efficiently. About Impartner Impartner is the fastest-growing and most award-winning provider of channel management technologies. Its flagship Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Partner Marketing Automation solutions help companies around the world manage their relationships with partners, drive demand through partners, and speed up revenue and profitability through indirect sales channels. It is based out of Utah

Read More

CHANNEL PARTNERSHIPS

Gigamon Announces Channel Award Winners at Sales Kick-off Event 2023

Gigamon | February 01, 2023

One of the leading deep observability companies, Gigamon, recently announced its Channel Award winners in the annual sales kick-off event in San Diego (California). Each partner played a very important role in the company's market growth and drove Gigamon as the industry-leading deep observability vendor, with a 68% market share in 2022's first half. The Gigamon Channel Awards highlights distributors who helped deliver industry-leading solutions to customers worldwide and emphasizes the outstanding success of the top-performing partners. The Sales Kick-off event's Channel Award winners include Trace3 as 2022 Americas Partner of the Year, Layer 8 Solutions titled as 2022 Americas Regional Partner of the year, ST Engineering as 2022 APAC Partner of the Year, Mannai Corporation wins 2022 EMEA Partner of the Year, Blackwood Associates, Inc. as Public Sector- 2022 Partner of the Year, World Wide Technology wins 2022 Global Partner of the year, Timothy Wong Kwai Hoong as 2022 Top Gigamon Community Partner and the last one was to Carahsoft Technology Corporation as 2022 Distributor of the Year. The Gigamon Partner Program has received five-star ratings four times in a row among the CRN's Partner Program and four in a row CRN Women of the Channel recognitions. In addition, the company has been awarded three consecutive years for the CRN Channel Chief list. It also won the 2020 Channel Partner Top 10 Up award and was named one of CRN's Power 100 - Topmost Powerful Women in the Channel in 2019. “Our channel-first strategy is a fundamental component of our business plan and we are fortunate to work alongside over 1,000 global partners that are focused on delivering industry leading solutions backed by unparalleled support. We are proud to recognize the impact that each of our top partners is having on their customers’ cloud transformation journeys,” said Doug Woodley, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Gigamon. (Source: Business Wire) About Gigamon Founded in 2004, Gigamon enables organizations to function fast, stay innovative and secure. The company delivers unified network visibility and analytics on all the data in transit. It helps in aggregation, transformation and analysis of network traffic to meet the customers' critical performance rapid threat detection and response needs in physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure. Gigamon has over 4,000 customers worldwide, including over 80% of the Fortune 100, 9 of the ten biggest mobile network providers, and hundreds of governments and schools.

Read More

Events