Channel Marketer Clients
As a channel marketer, are you creating enough–and the right kind of–content?
Channel marketers know, when done strategically and creatively, content marketing helps them meet a variety of objectives, such as:
- Supporting the launch of new products to the channel
- Enabling increased sales and revenue
- Keeping the brand top of mind
- Strengthening positive relationships with partners
- Attracting new channel partners
And more. We know there are a number of competing priorities that channel marketers (and channel managers with marketing responsibilities) are juggling all the time. It can be challenging to do it all alone. To create all the content and in the right formats to achieve your goals by yourself.
You don’t have to. In our work with channel professionals like you, we take pride in being an extension of your team to provide the most valuable information to those who need it. We also have a keen understanding of today’s channel marketers’ common scenarios, as well as the most effective ways to deal with them.
Yes, channel marketers definitely need more content and we help them meet that need.
We hear channel marketer clients saying things like . . .
“I have great data and source material from my (global) marketing department . . . and I need to make it work for my channel partners.”
Our clients sometimes don’t come to us empty-handed to create assets. In this instance, we focus on the strengths you’re already working with. We make sure your content can be developed further to speak to your channels/partners. In this way, we build on what your (perhaps global) marketing department is already doing–and we’re happy to work with them directly too.
For example, some clients have informative product marketing (read: highly technical) materials that need to be re-purposed so that they educate partners and speak to customers, without bogging anyone down in feature details. We refine these materials to help focus on the benefit–and connect to the real pain points. Sometimes clients already have other assets that may be dated and not necessarily easily to consume (for example, white papers). But they’re not sure how to break them down into digestible, visually appealing content they can leverage now–or they simply don’t have the time to think about it or the resources do it.
“I know exactly what’s needed content-wise for partners and end-users–as well as when, where, and how it will be used . . .”
In this case, great! We can hit the ground running to help you meet your specific goal. Here’s one example: A super-savvy client came to us knowing “partners really need training on the benefits of a new product and that the most effective format for that will be brief, high-quality videos.” We started by asking the right questions to make sure we identified any gaps in messaging or delivery of the message at the outset. We coordinated with all the stakeholders and drove the project with them, so that our client doesn’t just deliver on time–but on point for the intended channel partner and end-user–while being free to handle their other responsibilities.
According to a recent Agency Management Institute report, agencies don’t really want to be “order-takers.” Therefore, channel marketers may sense resistance when they engage their account manager with a direct (and directive!) request. That’s not the case with us. We know our clients respect and trust us for the strategic advising we can provide–and that there’s a time and place for that. We are happy to execute straightforward content marketing projects clients need to get off their plates. And we need minimal direction to do it because we cultivate a relationship of understanding upfront.
Whether our clients have a specific goal in mind or it’s more rough around the edges, it’s our job as creative partners to find the gold that can be extracted, shaped, polished, and delivered to their channels.
“I have this major initiative or campaign (or my boss does) and I’m not 100% sure what content or assets would best support it . . .”
When a client comes to us with a content challenge or idea, we work behind the scenes to generate creative solutions about what opportunities exist. Then we weigh the pros and cons of each. We come back to them with the best options. Essentially, we hold the space and do the strategic thinking on a client’s behalf. Then, we present clients with a customized Content Menu. This is a list of recommendations they can select from and/or prioritize to meet both their needs and their budgets.
Our Content Menus present channel marketing clients with our ideas to meet the specific goal, describe how each possible content deliverable type brings that idea to life, and lays out the cost for each. This process is highly collaborative. We want clients to be able to choose what speaks to them the most and has had historical success. Sometimes, however, we propose innovative ideas to solving a content problem and, together with the client, we test it out!
“I have a great idea/strategy in mind but I haven’t had time to figure out all the details and I can’t make it happen without a bigger team.”
Many channel marketers share the driving strength of ideation. Out of great ideas come great campaigns and content. But sometimes having a lot of ideas–and less time to evaluate and execute them–means putting some half-baked ideas on the backburner. This happens when a client has been inspired but finds herself (or her boss) saying, “That would be amazing, but we don’t have the time and resources.”
This happened recently with a long-standing client who returned from a sales conference. Inspired by a presentation on LinkedIn, he came away with the idea of having his team become “Super Users.” His vision was broad and visionary–he was just short on bandwidth and the ability to see all the steps needed to take that to fruition. He asked us how we could help make this a reality, in keeping with brand.
We proposed a phased approach to update the team’s individual profiles to be distinctive, consistent and professional (as Phase 1). We helped Account Managers re-imagine their profiles in compelling ways that aligned with the brand and that would support partner relationships. Phase 2 (pending) will help the team drive more traffic to their exciting new profiles. They’ll boost their visibility and connections with their channel reps and within the industry. We are able to bring a new idea to life because we could provide the relevant resources–and roadmap–the client needed to get there.
Creating content and campaigns from the seeds of great ideas is always a need for our channel marketing clients. We are always ready to roll up our sleeves to bring these ideas to fruition.
When channel marketers are supported to do innovative things in their organizations, they get the attention of partner sales representatives and increase their visibility within their organizations.
As creative partners, we have the willingness and determination to give channel marketers what they need to innovate and stand out. Our philosophy is that nothing is created alone when we’re approached with ideas like these. It’s based on mutual respect and the firm knowledge that we can bring the idea to life–together.
“We’re trying to fully implement or manage our Partner Relationship Management (PRM) system but we have challenges and it’s slow-going.”
Content marketing works best when the content is in front of the right audiences at the right time. So our work is more than delivering more content. It’s also about maintaining and managing it in ways that support your partnerships and channels–whether you have 5 or 500.
You might be at varying stages of PRM use–selection, initial onboarding and implementation, channel partner rollout, maintenance, continuous improvement, restructuring, customization, reconsideration, or renewal. All of these stages have their unique challenges. Most often, we work with hard-working, well-meaning channel marketers who are saying, “We thought:
- . . . we had the bandwidth or internal resources to learn and manage this system to get the most out of our investment but we don’t so we need help.”
- . . . we understood the PRM well enough to make structural decisions based on our business during implementation but now we’re starting to wonder if we had the best approach (and what to do about it).”
- . . . we’d be able to keep content fresh and updated for partners to engage them but we haven’t been able to.”
- . . . we’d be able to keep up. We know how to populate the portal but but we have a backlog of content to upload. And we know how to use the portal but we have outdated information to remove. We haven’t been able to get to all of that–much less develop a plan for future.”
Channel marketers who want to start using a PRM might be saying, “We know we’re going to need support in making decisions about how to set it up, communicating it out to the partners, and making changes as we go.”
For channel marketers who have already set up their PRM, a common challenge is there wasn’t enough time, deep understanding, or even playing devil’s advocate to strategically and thoroughly answer questions like:
- How do we arrange the content here in a way that makes the most sense?
- How would this portal best be structured in terms of navigation?
- Can our partners find what they need when they need it?
- How will we keep them engaged with fresh, relevant content and how often?
- What data do we need to capture to be able to personalize partner communications and content?
- How will we be able to measure and report on our success?
In this case, we come in as an extension of your team and liaise with your PRM customer service rep. We “re-envision” your instance as needed to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment.
In closing . . .
These are just some of the things we work with around creating meaningful content, feeding various channels, and managing your portal–and a glimpse into how we partner with you to meet your objectives successfully. And we’re always learning from our clients and communities about the specific challenges that they face (and the self-talk that’s going on!). Having this knowledge helps us be better creative partners and fill gaps that exist for channel marketers so that they can be rockstars in their roles.
How does your world compare with what we’ve said so far? What have we missed? Please take a moment to let us know . . . We’d love to hear from you!