Making a case for an investment in channel marketing programs remains an issue at many companies, even at businesses that generate a significant share of revenue through partners. Getting reliable insight into channel marketing ROI can be difficult. And oft-repeated complaints about low levels of partner engagement – for example, the amount of MDF that goes unspent is often cited – can make senior management ask “why bother,” when more channel marketing is requested.
If you are gearing up for another round of making-the-case-for-channel-marketing, the recently published Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives, might help you grease the skids.
The book, which explores how to engage channel partners, create programs that generate outcomes, develop content and provide meaningful incentives to channel partners, was written, in part, to help channel marketers promote the value of what they do to their bosses.
Last month, I sat down with authors Mike Moore, Averetek’s VP of Strategy, and Peter Thomas, the company’s founder and CEO, to talk about how marketers can use the book to get executives more excited about channel marketing investment.
Don’t Trust The Channel?
Moore and Thomas see their book as a resource for executives who aren’t sure that investing in marketing programs is a smart move. “If they are unconvinced, if they’re skeptical about the channel, if they don’t understand the potential and how to really grow their voice in the market, we believe that the book will give them a framework for how best to do that,” said Moore.
“If you really want to understand channel marketing and what the potential is, as well as how best-in-class companies do it, read this,” he added.
Indeed, Moore and Thomas are vocal advocates for the channel marketing. “The channel represents an opportunity for brands to effectively amplify a message across a broad cross section of companies,” said Moore. “I think that’s why you see a lot of people going to market with a channel and trying to build a channel because they see that, quite frankly, the channel is going to bring them the most amount of deals in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of cost.”
“If you compare the alternatives of hiring a direct sales force, paying them, training them and doing all the things that a channel can do for you, there really is no other way to do it as efficiently,” Moore continued. “We think that the real opportunity is in the power of the channel to multiply your brand and your message in the marketplace.”
“What we’d like to see are more brands really embracing the channel and being serious about it,” added Thomas.
More Partner Empathy, Please!
A key take-away for executives is that they should treat partners like customers, Thomas continued. “We see a lot of people making the mistake of saying, ‘Well, they’re our partner, they’re lucky to sell our products.’”
“That’s a very brand-centric attitude,” Thomas continued, “and our advice is to invert that relationship and look at is as how can I help my partner? How can I unstick my partner? How can I treat them like an audience and a customer? How can I help them win? How can I articulate a story that helps us win together?”
“It’s demonstrating empathy for a partner,” he continued. “What we’d like to see is more brands really embracing the channel and being serious about it.”
According to the authors, the early chapters of the book lay a foundation for channel marketing, providing some common definitions and explain key processes such as to-, through- and for-partner marketing.
The book then reviews how these processes are synced up with the buyer’s journey. “CMOs and other executives are well-versed on the modern buyer’s journey and the different stages people go through,” said Moore. “But how partner marketing can relate to that, I think, is the missing piece. If an exec were going to read the first couple of chapters, I think they’d take a lot away from that.”
As the book gets more tactical, Moore and Thomas use “a lot of examples from our own experiences, as well as the clients that we work with and people who really do this well and have honed it to a science.”
The authors believe channel marketers can use Marketing Multiplied to convince their bosses to give them a bigger toolbox. “What we say with the book is, ‘We know you, the channel marketers, get it and how important it is. We’re going to give you some tools and some frameworks to help you build alignment with other people in your organization so that you can get them to support your program in a way that is meaningful and that makes sense for you.’”
“Our goal is help channel marketer breach that chasm,” said Thomas.
Marketing Multiplied is currently for sale on Amazon.