The “campaign in-a-box” concept has been a tried and true method for channel marketers to distribute templates for data sheets, ads and mailers to and through their partners and resellers. However, the emergence of social media, mobile, virtual events and other new platforms has added new complexity to the concept.
Updating the campaign in a box model, strategic channel marketing firm Channel Maven Consulting has developed a new campaign offering, which addresses the modern day realities of solution providers, who typically don’t have the staffing or expertise to effectively execute marketing campaigns to prospects and customers.
Tackling the need for education as well as turnkey communications, the new “campaign in a box” models provide best practices guides to help VARs and other solution providers effectively roll out multi-touch campaigns.
“Some channel partners may not have the resources, and even if they do, they may not have the time to execute a campaign without a little more instruction or handle,” said Heather K. Margolis, Founder of Channel Maven Consulting. “What we’ve done is created a series of guides to walk partners through how to build a better list, how to leverage social media to get more exposure, why to do a multi-touch campaign instead of just sending one email and how to leverage their content better through social media.”
Channel Maven’s Campaign-In-a-Box features customizable content designed to effectively distribute vendors’ messages, while still integrating the solution provider’s brand to their local customer base. Featuring promotional emails, E-books and white papers, banner ads, datasheets, webinars and telemarketing scripts, the package is designed to create a comprehensive guide to efficient marketing tactics based on each vendor’s unique value propositions. The company also provides Event-In-a-Box, which provides comprehensive guides and checklists on developing live and web-based events. The Event In-a-Box also features HTML and printable invites, event reminders and follow-ups, presentations, signage and handouts.
With the “In-a-Box” campaigns, Channel Maven addresses the growing interest in developing a seamless strategy to further educate partners on optimal marketing tactics and increase end-user engagement. “In general, vendors understand now more than ever how much more support and resources their partners need,” Margolis said. “Vendors are trying to figure out ways they can put together content that is incredibly easy for their partners to leverage. Not just to sell their own products, but to be able to get the partner’s name out there as well.”
New Technology Presents Unique Channel Marketing Opportunities
Throughout her career, Margolis has led channel programs for companies including EMC, EqualLogic and Dell. She developed Channel Maven Consulting to provide strategies to enhance channel marketing initiatives, and to consult IT channel organizations of all sizes.
Currently, a number of vendors have leveraged Channel Maven’s campaign in-a-box to accelerate marketing initiatives. The consulting firm also provides one-to-one marketing guidance for solution providers that need further assistance rolling out campaigns. The marketing planning and education area of the company’s One-2-One initiative presents a multitude of options based on a partner’s market position. Services include LinkedIn training, how-to webinars and workshops, 90-day social media and marketing plans and event planning. One-2-One Partner Marketing Support also gives partners exposure online including social media engagement, content creation, blog writing, search engine optimization and event management.
Rather than mass-producing email campaigns and cold calling, Margolis noted that successful vendors roll out detailed campaigns across channels to initiate relationships and add further value to products. “It’s not just about blasting stuff out on Twitter about your product over and over and about how great you are — it’s about adding value,” Margolis noted. “It’s also really important that the partners are pushing the content their audience wants to see as opposed to just pushing what’s available to them.”
According to Margolis, the key to a successful channel marketing plan is for vendors to put themselves in the buyer’s seat. “They are all consumers and certainly they don’t like getting cold calls and getting information blasted to their email. They also have to keep that in mind when in the role of the sales person or marketer and think about what they would like to see on Twitter and LinkedIn.”
Although the array of new cross-channel tools and strategies are both daunting and time consuming for vendors, Margolis reaffirmed that to stay ahead within the channel, they must focus on utilizing these channels to develop quality relationships with partners so information is efficiently relayed to end-users.
“The way that relationships in the channel work, the vendor has to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the partner, but that partner is a trusted advisor to their customers,” Margolis said. “Customers would rather hear from the partner, that’s the contact they truly have a relationship with. So by educating partners to repost vendor content or send out the vendors messaging or writing a blog post that points to the vendor’s blog post. What they’re doing is endorsing whatever the vendor’s message is — and that’s what the customers need to see.”
Alicia Fiorletta is Senior Editor for Channel Marketer Report. Working closely with industry analysts and experts, Alicia reports on the latest news, technologies, case studies and trends coming to forefront in the channel marketing world. With a focus on emerging marketing strategies, including social, mobile and content for demand, Alicia hones in on new ways for organizations to market to and through their partner networks. Through her work with G3 Communications, Alicia also acts as Associate Editor for Retail TouchPoints, a digital publishing network focused on the customer-facing area of the retail industry.