It’s no wonder that so many channel partners are consistently disappointed by the results of their marketing efforts and think that marketing is futile. The great majority of partners don’t have the time or resources to regularly target customers with high-quality digital marketing campaigns. On the rare occasions that they do take the time to craft a marketing campaign, they’re disappointed to see how little effect it seems to have. Where’s the return on investment?
In fact, you shouldn’t expect much ROI from a one-off marketing campaign. The goal of marketing is not just to make prospects aware of your business and its products, but to develop a bond over a long period of time. That can only come from a long-term, drip-feed marketing campaign that hits prospects month after month.
That requires patience and a solution provider that can deliver the marketing that you likely don’t have the time to put together on a consistent basis.
IT purchases are rarely spur-of-the-moment
It’s rare that an IT buyer is going to make a major investment in new software, hardware or cloud solutions in response to the first digital marketing campaign they see. The purchase cycle for the typical enterprise buyer is between two and six months. It begins with the buyer’s recognition of their IT need. They follow that with research and assessment of the competing options available.
Sustained marketing keeps the partner top-of-mind for buyers
For any marketing program to be effective, it has to be long-term. Because the great majority of buyers that a marketing campaign targets are not in the position to buy new products at the time of contact, the key for partners is to sustain contact so that when the buyers are in the market for new products, the partner who has been communicating with them is top-of-mind.
Make it a multi-platform conversation
Partners and vendors should take advantage of multiple marketing mediums to stay in front of prospective buyers, including eDMs and social media. They can do this by opting into a vendor-funded social marketing solution run by Extu, which delivers the content through the channel partner’s LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn, where many buyers go to interact professionally and find information that is useful to their occupations, offers a particularly ripe opportunity for sharing thought leadership content and information about new products. Just as important, by monitoring how individual buyers are interacting with the content, channel partners can gain critical insights into the types of products that are most likely to appeal to them.
Over time, begin direct conversations with buyers
One of the key advantages of a consistent, drip-feed channel marketing campaign is that the service provider –– Extu –– regularly delivers insights to channel partners about how IT buyers are interacting with their digital marketing campaign. For instance, what types of content are buyers clicking on in the newsletter?
Multi-touch, targeted campaigns work best when customer profiles are well-established. Of course, that takes time. A well-developed, accurate profile is based on the behavior you observe from buyers through their repeated interaction with marketing campaigns.
Sustained contact leads to greater trust
The goal of any channel marketing campaign is not just to showcase a channel partner’s products, but to prove to end-buyers that the partner is the best-positioned to serve their needs due to their expertise and commitment to customer service. Key to accomplishing that is long-term engagement with buyers, both by sharing high-quality content and by reaching out to them directly. Partners earn trust by delivering timely, relevant advice tailored to the client’s needs. However, that takes time.