Working with a channel partner model means having to deal with various third parties, such as distributors and partners, to market, sell, and support your products and services. This kind of model can help you to expand into local markets and grow your revenue. But it requires a specific marketing plan adapted to each of the channel players.
This marketing plan should speak about your company but also to your partners and end-users. Let’s dive into partner marketing and why it is so important within the channel!
What is partner marketing?
Alright, you just read the definition above. But partner marketing entails so much more than that. There are different types of channel partner marketing strategies : content, co-branding, distributor. And above all, different types of partners… Raising questions about how to pick the right ones.
The types of partner marketing
When it comes to partner marketing, the sky’s the limit. But we’ll address 3 main types: content marketing, co-branding, and distributor marketing. Content marketing exposes your name to the audience of your partners thanks to relevant material you provide. Co-branding combines your strengths with another brand’s to offer to your partners fresh and more complete solutions. Distributor marketing helps you to tap into the 80% that are managed by distributors. You market via the distris. There are more types of marketing with partners such as sponsorships, licensing or loyalty programs. But how do you choose? It all depends on your partners.
What kind of partners are out there?
To establish a partner marketing strategy, you’ll need partners. There are 3 main types of partners : influence, transactional and retention. Influence partners range from ambassadors to referral agents, affiliates, and advocates. Transactional partners are the ones selling and distributing your products and services. Does your product or service run on a subscription-based model, does it require installation and service? That’s where retention partners come into play by helping you to retain these customers.
Choose the right partners
Before picking your partners, you’ll need to ask yourself quite a few questions. Do you and your partners have common goals? Could they put you in touch with the right end-users? You’ll need to consider the value they could bring to your brand. Can this partner help you reach more end-users, grow your social media following, speak to an audience that hasn’t heard of you before? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s go time! Make that partnership and include that new player into your partner marketing strategy.
How can partner marketing help your channel?
Times have changed and traditional advertising does not cut it anymore for end-users. Finding new ways to grow business and get new clients is a must for vendors. And this is where partner marketing comes in. Now that we’ve established what partner marketing is, let’s see how it can help your channel.
Bigger reach by using your partner’s network
The same way you have your own network, your partners do too. And that’s good news cause you might be able to benefit from it. Developing relationships with marketing partners could promote your brand to much bigger audiences and eventually bring you more leads. Cultivating partnerships demands time and energy. But looking at the potential outcome, there’s no reason to hold back anymore. Tap into your partner’s network and increase that end-users base and revenue generation.
Co-marketing means combining your strengths
You know the saying…Innovation happens at the intersections. In a few words, co-marketing means working side-by-side with your partners to reach new end-users, drive more revenue and build awareness. Imagine your expertise on marketing and your partners’ aptitude to deliver your message. Another idea : you have the resources to create great campaigns. But you lack information about your target. Guess who could help you with that? Your partners! Sounds like a win-win, right?
Penetrate new markets, verticals, regions your partners are already strong
You may know it all about your products and services, but you probably ignore many things about your end-users, especially if they’re part of an unknown segment of the market, from a different country or usually browsing on another vertical. With a solid partner network and marketing strategy, you could expand your channel to these hidden territories! Your partners are in direct contact with end-users and most of all, they master the codes and the languages. It’s time to enable them to exploit their full potential, don’t you think?
What do you need to start partner marketing?
Channel partners vary significantly from one another, which is why establishing a marketing plan for them all can be a challenge. But remember. You have – at least – one thing in common. You want to generate revenue. Vendors, distributors and partners are like three musketeers fighting to grow. Each of them bring their own expertise. It’s up to you to make the best out of these differences.
Here are 3 keys for a solid partner marketing strategy:
Providing marketing materials
You are never better served than by yourself. Just send ready to be published marketing materials to your partners. You’ll know for sure that what goes out on their channels is high-quality and representative of your brand. Also, most partners don’t have in-house marketing professionals. They’ll be glad to receive help!
Leaving some room for customization
Your partners are on the field. And because they’re in direct touch with end-users, they often know best how to talk to them. Literally. Think about language! If you’re doing business abroad, better let the local teams handle the content translation. Make sure you create great copy and make it possible for the local teams to easily translate it.
Evaluating your results
Navigating a channel is hard enough. You don’t have time to waste heading into the wrong direction. Track your results in live : clicks, likes, comments, shares, campaigns published. Check how active your partners are and how end-users interact with your content. Evaluating your results also means evaluating your performance as a vendor. Let your partners tell you how they feel with regular feedback sessions.
We’ve established what partner marketing is, what forms it can take and mostly what it could bring to your channel. You’re also packed with tips that should help you set in motion that great partner marketing strategy. What else could you need?