Expand into new regions, verticals, and product categories with your partners
In the previous three posts, we discussed the best structure for the team, how to keep your partners happy, and how to create the best partner experience. This essentially gives you the key pillars of your partner program. Once you give these pillars context and structure, you’ll be on the right track.
Then it’s time to look beyond your own borders. Because once you have a solid partner program in place, you can start finding partners to help you adjust per vertical and per region. And don’t forget: every partner needs a tailored approach. So, how do you tailor your partner marketing program per region, vertical, and product category? Read on to find out.
Exploring new regions
When it comes to race track locations, the difference couldn’t be bigger. From rainy Spa to sweltering Bahrain. The exclusivity of Monaco, compared to how down-to-earth Australia’s Albert Park is. And from the traditions of Silverstone to the ultra-modern track that is the Miami International Autodrome. And what to say of local prices, where you can pop in for three days of F1 fun for just $70 in China, that same ticket will set you back $270 in Abu Dhabi.
It’s something to keep in mind when considering expansion into new territory because you’ll have to compete with local languages, customs, traditions, pricing structures, and more. Here are some to keep in mind.
Expanding into new territories means adapting to different geographical constraints. In the Netherlands, driving for an hour seems like an eternity, while in London any trip will take you at least that long. In the USA, everything is farther apart and remote working has become the norm for many companies, especially in IT.
The language barrier
While many people around the world will understand some form of English, it doesn’t mean they want to be addressed solely in English. In the previous post, we highlighted the importance of fuelling your partner marketing program with high-quality content. Providing content in local languages is a must!
No need to overthink this part. Make sure you create strong, original copy that can easily be translated into multiple languages – keep it short and simple and stay away from colloquialisms. This way local teams won’t have to create their own versions, but simply translate and check.
Local rules and regulations
Each country has its own set of rules and regulations to navigate, and you’ll need to be compliant with all your partners. For instance, Europe has the GDPR which calls for Cookie warnings. While the US has no such policy. Local partners, or better yet, local agencies and distributors, can help you make sense of local rules and regulations.
Traditionally, Grand Prix winners spray their counterparts with champagne to celebrate. But when LeClerc took first place at the Bahrain Grand Prix, something seemed to taste a little different. Being a ‘dry’ country the champagne had been swapped for 7-Up.
Different regions come with their own cultural differences. Make sure to do your homework before accidentally saying “du” to a German counterpart, or forgetting to bow to your Japanese one – even during a Zoom call.
Tweak it to their timezone
Night racing, it’s exhilarating, feels even faster than usual, and guarantees some spectacular images for fans. In countries like Singapore and Dubai, you couldn’t imagine drivers and their teams having to work outside during the day, so the night races make total sense. It’s the preference of both driver and organizer.
When planning your go-to-market strategy make sure to ask your partners when they feel it is the best time to post. Keep different time zones in mind and make sure to hit ‘post’ when it suits them. Yes, that may mean that your launch could go live in Australia hours before it does in Amsterdam, and that makes sense.
Broadening your horizon
With 22 (!) GPs in the Formula 1 season there are some big differences between tracks. Circuit races are where you can beat opponents on the straights, like Mercedes in Bahrain – usually. When it comes to city races such as the windy streets of Monaco with hardly any room for error, you want a car that’s easy to maneuver such as Red Bull. So you see, each track is different and will have a favorite driver and car.
The same applies when it comes to expanding and exploring new verticals, you will need to reevaluate your partner strategy. For instance, what kind of partners are you looking for? Resellers, Influencers, Service partners? What goals do you have with these partners, and how will you enable them to get the most out of your program?
You want to get into a new vertical to broaden your reach, and tap into unchartered opportunities. You’ll need to find partners that are already active in that market. Ones that know the lingo and can make the right introductions.
Take the way different verticals describe their end-user for instance, in healthcare it’s patients, in Saas it’s users, in IT it’s customers. If you want to give your partners the best chance to resonate with their end-users, you will need to offer personalized content.
But that’s not where it stops when it comes to enabling your partners.
Take a vendor such as Cisco. It started in routers, expanded into networking, and now have one of the most popular video conferencing software in Webex. Yes, these three sectors live within the greater IT landscape, but there is a huge difference between these different product categories, especially when it comes to target audience.
Again, you don’t need to change your entire program, just like an F1 team doesn’t need to design an entirely different car for each driver. It’s about the small adjustments you make for each driver or in this case, partner.
Remember, each race track is different. And so you need to adjust your car slightly. Both to the track and to the individual drivers. It’s the same with partner programs. So keep iterating. What do my partners need? You’re not changing your entire program but tweaking it to your partners’ specific needs.
How do you do this? You’ll need to get data and feedback from your partners. We’ll discuss that in the next one.