How to best get their goods or services to clients is a key decision that most business owners make. Many businesses find channel marketing to be a helpful solution. What is a channel marketing strategy? Channel marketing is the practice of partnering with a third party to access a wider reach. The plan developed to achieve the desired goals within the channel is considered a channel marketing strategy.
The goals of each businesses’ channel strategies vary. Approaching channel marketing with the right strategy can lead to benefits such as network expansion and amplified reach which ultimately drives sales. To get the most out of working with another company, creating an effective channel marketing strategy is imperative.
To develop a channel marketing strategy, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. As outlined by Forrester’s Channel Operating Model, a business may want to consider current pain points, company goals, target audience, and performance measurement.
How to Develop a Channel Marketing Strategy
Consider Your Pain Points
Existing problem areas should be taken into consideration when developing a strategy. Being aware of issues such as wasted marketing development funds, ineffective marketing campaigns, and low partner engagement can help you effectively find ways to combat those issues. Having these insights will allow businesses to revamp their strategy to successfully find the source of those problems and develop solutions.
A key selling point of having partners is the fact that they are better positioned to sell to your customers than you are. Understanding your own company’s needs will help channel partners grow and ultimately achieve their desired sales goals.
Define Your Goals
The question “What is a channel marketing strategy?” can’t be answered without mentioning goals. Setting specific objectives is crucial to channel marketing. Companies must determine what they are working toward. Marketing goals are defined as the long-term outcome businesses ultimately want to achieve through effective marketing efforts. Goals vary from company to company. They can be anything from increased brand awareness to increased lead generation.
Goals must be chosen strategically to ensure time is not wasted and the entire team can focus on the shared vision. These objectives differ from the overarching goals of your company. For instance, a corporate objective can be to use its marketing partners to boost profits by 8% by the end of the year.
The method you use to gauge performance is also an essential component of your channel marketing strategy. Define key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics such as email engagement, website traffic, or product info downloads, assess whether your channel marketing strategy is on its way to success. Implementing the use of data and analytics takes the guesswork out of marketing. You will be able to then decide how to most effectively move forward with the channel marketing plan.
Listen to Your Audience
Successful channel marketing strategies never lose sight of what the customers’ wants and needs are. Having knowledge of your audience will help determine if channel marketing will work well or not. Forrester’s Q4 2021 B2B Advertising Trends Survey highlights the popularity of Google search and LinkedIn usage. The report also notes that the platforms with less frequent usage can still be significant for specific audience segments. It is important to try and match your marketing efforts with the habits of your target audience.
Researching components such as demographic and shopping habits allow you to determine where your company can fill gaps. Businesses should also conduct research on different channel types and their options with using them. For instance, determine whether it makes more sense for your company to partner through an affiliate or reseller.
Resellers purchase products or services from an original source and resell to their intended customers. This usually involves a markup in prices to gain profit. While reselling can help facilitate growth within a business, it may also result in stagnation due to inability to resell at competitive prices.
Affiliates act as sales representatives for the companies they are affiliated with. By making sales through a unique link for the product or service, affiliates make commission. This method is simpler than reselling but the commission may not always guarantee sales nor result in a large profit.
After carefully reviewing which would work best for your business model, you can consider potential partners.
Channel partners provide a second benefit in addition to being more readily accessible: a set of impartial ears. Customers can provide more honest comments with someone they already established trust with. As a result, the feedback you get is worthwhile and beneficial.
Check Your Progress
Take time to check on the status of your goals. To make sure you are on the right track, verify frequently that what you are doing is progressive. If you find that it is not, you can change your strategy to get a better result.
At Extu, we believe that your program data should provide you with comprehensive insights on which campaigns, assets, and tactics resulted in sales rather than just telling you which leads made it into your pipeline. When you can directly link the success of your partners’ campaigns to their sales, you can calculate the program’s overall return on investment (ROI). Moreover, by directly attributing income to campaign execution and engagement, channel marketers can demonstrate their own value by placing a provable dollar amount on the business they helped.
Setting a deadline and providing a thorough review at the end of it are also helpful strategies when it comes to checking your progress. For example, you may choose to partner with a reseller for a year to increase sales by a certain percentage. After the year has concluded, you may then determine whether that relationship was beneficial to your company and if your goal was met. If not, you can alter your strategy and try again with a different partner.
The use of channel marketing has allowed businesses to grow and meet their desired goals. Developing an effective strategy helps you get the most out of channel marketing. Taking into consideration factors such as the needs of your target audience and pre-existing weaknesses within your company helps in developing a successful strategy. Tracking your progression keeps the focus on the big picture and allows businesses to identify what is and isn’t working and subsequently adjust and strengthen their strategy. The stronger the strategy the more likely it is to succeed.
Want a channel marketing program that helps you get more data, insights, and revenue from your channel? Contact us!