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4 Keys to Effective Partner Marketing (partnerDRIVEN Series: Part 4)

Our partnerDRIVEN series is back with the latest trends in Partner Relationship Management (PRM), as well as best practices to increase partner loyalty and performance. We’ve talked about three ways to increase partner engagement, the four biggest challenges for indirect sales channels, and three signs your partner scorecard is underperforming. In today’s installment, we’ll share four keys to more effective partner marketing.

Wait … What Is Partner Marketing?

Have indirect sales channels? You know it’s important to coordinate your marketing efforts across your partner network. While your partners could put together their own campaigns, that comes with some obvious pitfalls. How do you know what kinds of marketing your partners are doing? How do you make sure that customers in Boise and Sarasota are getting the same message about your brand?

The solution: partner marketing. It provides your partners with streamlined, personalized campaigns that they can easily deliver to their prospects and customers. And it gives you control over your brand, message and creative strategy.

Why Is Partner Marketing So Challenging?

On the surface, it sounds easy. Create a campaign. Run a campaign. But there are a lot of moving parts between your corporate organization and your partners, whose market conditions may be radically different from each other. Everyone has the same goal – more leads – but they may need to take different approaches to get there.

Corporate vs. Partner Viewpoints

As a corporate marketer, it’s important to create a consistent customer experience, which can present a big challenge when channel marketing is fragmented. You want to avoid brand dilution, and you want to maximize your budget by precisely allocating your marketing spend across corporate and Market Development Fund (MDF) budgets.

On their end, partners are looking for the “easy button.” They know they need to market their products and services, but they don’t have time to be marketers. They want simple, predefined campaigns that are corporate-approved. But partners also want the message personalized with their local information and latest offers. Plus, they want financial support.

4 Keys to Effective Partner Marketing

Your partner marketing can get better results with better collaboration, organization, funding and control.

1. Collaborate

Work with your partners to understand what their marketing needs are, what’s working for them, and what’s not. Because they speak to your customers on a daily basis, your partners are great marketing research assets. Tap into that knowledge by collaborating with them on your partner marketing platform.

2. Organize

Offer predefined marketing programs to your partner networks that integrate marketing tactics like email, paid search, direct mail and more. These are often organized around product lines, industries and/or geographies. Also, provide the option for custom campaigns and list acquisition services. This will separate your partner program from the rest.

3. Fund

Seamlessly funding your campaigns with MDF can make your partner marketing program much more effective. If you help pay for it, they’ll use it. (We’ll talk more about campaign funding in our next post.)

4. Control

Protect your brand by giving your partners budget-approved and brand-compliant materials that ensure consistent messaging and offers. Manage campaign tactics, and streamline execution and delivery for your entire partner network. And don’t forget the big picture. Keep an eye on your entire partner marketing program. You need to know what campaigns your partners are using and which are most (and least) effective.

partnerDRIVEN Makes It Easy

Now you know what you should be doing. But how do you do it?

  • Give your partners data. With a platform like partnerDRIVEN, you have access to a wealth of information: what campaigns are working, what messages and media are generating leads, and how your marketing is impacting market share. So share it. Nothing earns more loyalty with your partner network than sharing and collaborating on success.
  • Take control. Get the control you need to manage the branding, content and creative strategy behind the campaigns your partners are running. partnerDRIVEN streamlines the way you organize your campaigns and the marketing tactics you use. Manage campaign components like PPC, email, display ads and more at a granular level, while your partners can subscribe to a simple and personalized campaign.
  • Make it seamless. Your partner marketing solution should seamlessly integrate mass media, digital and social campaigns, and optimize budgets across your partners’ territories. On the front lines, partnerDRIVEN lets your partners subscribe to marketing campaigns with one click. And as a marketer, you can see which campaigns are active and which are driving leads to your partners. You can also fund your partner marketing through an integrated MDF program.

Bottom line: the easier you make it for your partners to participate in your marketing campaigns, the more compliance and cooperation you’ll receive. And the more results you’ll see on your balance sheet.

How could you improve your partner marketing campaigns? Could you execute them better with a solution built into your existing CRM? Connect with me on LinkedIn to learn more about how partnerDRIVEN can streamline your partner marketing program. And check back soon for our next post in this series to learn how to maximize your marketing spend.

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Eric Dukart

Candid. Honest. Driven. Eric is an expert strategist for everything from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and it’s no surprise that he’s a hands-on guy who’s passionate about insights, problem-solving and all aspects of our client relationships.

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