Channel marketing budgets are constantly under pressure as vendors seek to adapt their approach to reflect the changing B2B buying landscape. However many vendors could make their channel marketing budgets go further by working smarter. In this article we look at one of the main areas of opportunity.
A perennial challenge for technology vendors is how to drive the results needed from their indirect channel with limited channel marketing budget. Channel marketing budgets are almost always under pressure, and the channel can often seem like a poor relation compared to investment in brand and end-user marketing activities.
This pressure is intensified because as buyer behaviours have evolved, providing effective support to a channel is harder than in days gone by. Instead of churning out a few email blasts and a call script, vendors now need to equip their channel partners with the insights, the content assets and the integrated campaign plans that enable a more sophisticated marketing approach. (For more information on this see our briefing guide: Winning business through the channel: the need for change).
However there are many opportunities for vendors to improve the support they provide to their channel without needing significant incremental budget. One of the big opportunities to work smarter we see is improving alignment between channel and direct marketing activities, to ensure that channel is able to leverage investments already made by the vendor.
Many vendors invest a lot of money in insight, thought leadership and content marketing programmes but do a pretty lousy job making this content available to channel partners in a usable form, or explaining to partners how to use it to identify and develop new market opportunities.
Whenever we’re engaged to build a new channel marketing programme one of the things we always do is to look at what existing assets or insights we can leverage to make the budget go further. We’ve delivered a number of projects over the last 12 – 18 months which incorporated this approach. Some examples include:
- We developed a ‘MSPs and the Application Economy’ campaign for CA Technologies targeted at the Managed Service Provider sector. The campaign aligned with one of CA’s core marketing themes and leveraged research CA had carried out into the development of the application economy and the impact on how businesses buy and consume IT.
- We worked with HP and their distributor Avnet to build a ‘Storage for Virtualised Environments’ campaign toolkit for HP’s channel partners which leveraged existing HP research, white papers and presentations, but packaged up in a more usable format for partners
- We developed a campaign for Symantec’s MSP partners to help them capitalise on the need for better security solutions within the Small Business market. The campaign used the insights from Symantec’s annual Internet Security Threat Report as the basis for a campaign that partners could use to generate demand from small businesses.
Critical to making this approach work is to not just throw a bunch of white papers or infographics at partners and leave them to work out what it is they’re supposed to do with them. Partners are far more likely to engage in a campaign if things are packaged up in an easy-to-use format and accompanied by a campaign briefing guide, which sets out the rationale for the campaign, the key messages and advice about how to execute.
So could you make your channel marketing budget go further by working smarter? If you’d like to understand more about our approach then don’t hesitate to get in touch – you can email Phil at email@example.com or give us a call on 020 3693 1211.