Social Media & Trust in the Channel
April 28, 2017
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The theory is great – and has been for years and years and years.
But does it actually work? Loads of time and resource, extra work with no or very little reward. So why do so many vendors still bother?
Providing channel partners with collaterals and an online platform that allows them to co-brand, dispatch and track marketing campaigns actually sounds like a great idea – again in theory – but realistically how many resellers actually use these?
In all our years in the channel, we have rarely seen a fully successful online co-marketing service/ programme succeed!
So why this gulf between theory and practice?
Barriers, barriers and more barriers…
For those who don’t have a dedicated marketing team, i.e. the small, often local resellers, it should provide a perfect solution to increase their marketing activity and raise their end-user brand awareness. For them the best part is all of the content, images and translations have been paid for by the vendor and are free for them to use, as and when they want.
But for those with an internal marketing team or the support of an external agency, what benefit will they see from this automated service? Not much…
Add to this the fact that most channel partners work with tens of suppliers; is pushing one vendor message, almost entirely branded by that single vendor leaving (often) only space for the inclusion of a logo, really worth the extra effort? Most resellers would prefer to either (best option) push their own brand and messaging or (second best option) market multiple suppliers at the same time, which is very often a “no-no” for the vendor!
Let’s also not forget that most channel partners do not like to ‘share’ their customer data too, so this also restricts their willingness to participate.
For the vendor, life isn’t easy. There is the increased workload and cost associated with creating channel to end-user versions of all the collateral. This can include new variations of direct mails, emails, brochures, etc. plus translations – none of which come cheap – and all of which will increase the time it takes to get a campaign up and running. Often this will mean that you’ll only be able to create ‘campaigns’ perhaps four times a year (at best)… not very ‘real-time’, is it?
And then, there is the ‘spamming issue’… critically, are end-users actually reading the untargeted emails they get sent by a partner but looking like they come from a vendor?
Time for something new?
Whilst we believe there is still a place for informative emails (as long as they are targeted and relevant), isn’t it time vendors think outside the box when planning or creating an end-user campaign? Which media will make the biggest impact, the highest response and more importantly, generate the most sales? With budgets being more and more scrutinised, spending and getting a good return on investment is imperative today (always was, but we managed to avoid tracking).
In the rapidly-evolving world of social media, already affecting both B2C and B2B customers, is the need for ‘traditional’ campaign-on-demand-type platforms and programmes still valid and real?
Let’s face it, these campaigns-on-demand are an easy fall-back option when the eleventh hour chimes, budgets need using and after all, everyone knows they “work” in the channel. But it’s time to get smarter. Things have changed monumentally over the last 10 years and the channel has to work smarter, much smarter. We need to understand the partners more, take information from them and build channel marketing campaigns accordingly.
Don’t get left behind. Stay up to date, and maybe even get ahead. Listen out for our follow-up blog next week on the modern alternatives to these tired old methods.
Until then, dust off the spectacles and stop printing off your clip-art newsletter.