5 Ways to Use Channel Marketing Automation to Get Your Partners’ Attention
Most technology vendors struggle to keep their partners informed about product and program changes via their Channel Marketing Automation platform. This happens mostly when the vendor relies too heavily on Email Marketing based communication. While all Channel Marketing Automation tools provide Email Marketing as a core tool of communication, very few provide a set of alternative or supplementary communication tools, and this is a problem, because email is easy to ignore and ineffective as a single communications medium. ZINFI’s Channel Marketing Automation platform provides realistic, alternative tools to bridge this gap.
An average channel partner with $2 million to $10 million in annual revenues will probably carry products from between six and forty technology vendors. Each vendor provides multiple products that go through product refresh, updates, and end of life announcements on a quarterly basis. On top of that each channel program has multiple updates related to market development funds (MDF), rewards, rebates, training, etc. Multiply that by a factor of six, or – even worse - forty, and you can see that the stream of information will be excessive, confusing, and easily forgettable. If vendors try to communicate to channel partners via emails only, it becomes almost an impossible feat to create an informed channel. The average email open rate is only 10-15% for most email blasts to the channel. So what can be done? Here are 5 options:
- Mobile Responsive Portal– Almost all partners today live by their smart phones, and like any other business users they access a lot of information on their mobile devices. Therefore it makes sense for vendors to separate daily and weekly communications on to a web-based mobile platform, and encourage partners to bookmark that site on their handheld devices.
- Mobile Applications– It is relatively easy to develop branded mobile applications, but only if you have a structured way to push fresh content. Product and program related content can easily be sent to a mobile application, and this creates a secure way of pushing content to partners – including sales videos, product training, and program announcements. However, content segregation is the key for success via mobile devices. You only want to push relevant content to relevant partners – not everything to everyone.
- Social Communities– Most vendors are engaged in social communities targeted towards channel partners; however, information is not often distributed through these communities in a strategic way and much content is pushed randomly. A better tactic is to create multiple communications streams for topics like sales, marketing, training, or products. While you cannot push confidential or sensitive information (such as special pricing) through a publicly available site, information can be provided in such a way that partners are alerted about changes, and can then log into a secure site (mobile friendly is recommended) to access more information.
- Mobile Video Portals– If a picture is worth thousand words, a video is worth a million. Most partners very rarely in an office. So, while they are waiting in the lobby to meet a client, traveling, or taking a break from a partner training conference, they have multiple opportunities to watch three- to five–minute-long information videos. It’s a simple matter today to take and upload videos without needing special production facilities. Get a simple tripod for your smartphone and you are in business.
- Audio Podcasts– The podcast has been around for years, but still fewer than a handful of vendors use them effectively. It’s incredibly easy to create three to five minutes of relevant audio podcasts and push them via social media or mobile portals. This allows you to get a lot of information out to a very wide audience with remarkable speed. Since most partners drive to work, the audio podcast is a highly effective way of distributing channel updates, product refresh information – and even pricing changes.
ZINFI’s Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform– along with Email, Event & Microsite marketing – provides an alternative set of communication tools as described above and this enables Channel Marketing Automation to increase reach and engagement with channel partners.