For IT buyers, it’s hard to make sense of all of the competing marketing campaigns flooding their inboxes on a daily basis. Vendors from across the world are vying for their attention with all kinds of different product promotions, blog posts and social media content. In order to make a decision, buyers have to wade through a cacophony of voices and choose one they can trust.
How do buyers decide who they will trust, let alone who they will ultimately buy from? Broadly speaking, they focus on two key points: Who is sending me the marketing campaign and what are they providing me?
A marketing campaign that’s closer to home
When a buyer is deciding whether to trust information, nothing is more important than who is providing it to them. Simply put, they’re more likely to trust information that comes from somebody they already know, like and trust.
That’s where channel partners come in. Because of their in-the-trenches technical expertise and their local presence and reputation, channel partners serve as powerful ambassadors for the vendor’s brand.
Buyers are more inclined to trust a partner that they’ve had a long-term working relationship with. Who else is in a better position to market new products to them than the same partner that is already providing them satisfying service?
Even channel partners that don’t have an established relationship with a buyer can serve as a compelling voice on behalf of the brand. Buyers that are looking for a new IT provider are more likely to engage with a channel partner that has a local presence and reputation than an international vendor.
That’s where co-marketing comes in. Although the digital marketing campaign is created by a solution provider like us and funded by you, the vendor, it is co-branded with your channel partner. From the end-buyer’s perspective, this ends up having the stamp of approval from a trusted local expert.
Content that hits close to home
Quality content is the other cornerstone of a marketing campaign that inspires trust. If deployed correctly, a digital marketing campaign demonstrates that the vendor and partner are more than simply businesses selling products and services: they are experts and thought leaders who are interested in and committed to improving the IT field.
A strong digital marketing campaign should include thought leadership content that discusses and analyzes important industry trends that are relevant to IT end-buyers. Of course, as we’ve discussed, thought leadership comes in many different forms, including blog posts, webinars, videos, e-books and white papers. The key is to provide a variety of content targeting different types of end-buyers, as well as a mix of different types of content of varying lengths. Some buyers don’t always have the time to read a lengthy white paper, but they will click on and read a short blog post, spend a couple minutes looking over an infographic or watch a quick video.
Effective thought leadership comes from harnessing third-party sources, either by sharing content created by respected industry or academic organizations or by creating content that draws on independent research. The key is for the content to be viewed as credible, helpful and objective — not a thinly veiled effort to promote the vendor’s own products. It must also be delivered on a consistent basis and at a consistently high level of quality so that partners can win the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of more customers over time.
When it comes to giving end-customers content they can trust and depend upon month in and month out, nothing compares to a well-built co-marketing program run by a team with decades of experience working with vendor sales and marketing channels. But co-marketing does far more than help close the latest sale — it builds customer loyalty to the vendor’s brand by strengthening the trust they have with the local partner.
Are you looking to grow your brand’s trust and loyalty on behalf of your channel partners? Contact one of our channel marketing experts today!