Rummaging through some blogs from our old website the other day, I was both surprised and pleased with almost all of the content.
My surprise came from the topics that we were talking about in 2008, 2009 and 2010, were not too dissimilar to those that we hear spoken about today. My pleasure came from the fact that as I read our old blogs about partner programmes, channel development and email marketing, almost all of the predictions made those years ago, were now being (or have already been) realised.
So why is that? Are (y)our channels going stale and just churning out the same old stuff? Or are we set for a future of working smarter in the channel? I think it’s time to work smarter.
We keep hearing stories about how quickly things are moving, how we need to keep up with technology and how the new digital generations; the “millennials” and “Gen-Z” are pressing ahead in terms of tech take-up. But what does that actually mean and how will it impact us in the channel?
Well, I don’t think it will actually change that much. There will be no major, ground breaking shake-up or change in direction. But we do need to embrace what is happening in digital and social and accept that a few emails here and there will no longer suffice. Some things that have always worked, will continue to work. That said I think ‘the Channel’ is still sat back in its old smoking jacket and slippers in terms of adopting new ideas, and must start looking forward, instead of relying on ‘what we’ve always done’.
It’s not about throwing all your efforts into the latest trend (we did that with co-branding …hmmmm, that worked well!), it’s about knowing the right thing to do, and when to do it.
For example, one of our most successful campaigns this year came from a simple approach of combining email marketing, telemarketing and direct mail. Yet for another client, we achieved 10x campaign cost in financial ROI and 37% audience conversion to new sales when using some of the very latest nifty digital stuff. So while it is swings and roundabouts to a certain degree, there are two unarguable things that are absolutely necessary: knowledge and timing.
Knowledge: What do you know about channel marketing? Sounds obvious, but it is one of the most fundamental (and forgotten) questions. Also, what do you know about the different types of marketing methods available? Do you know how to combine them for success in your channel? What about your audience, your data, your KPI’s? As you can see, there’s a lot to know! And you can’t always be expected to know it all.
Timing: What do you want to achieve and when? How long do you have to prepare, create and execute? What timescales are your vendors/distis/partners expecting? What is happening with your competitors? When was your last campaign? What results did you get? How long will the campaign last and how will you keep it fresh? How will you time/stagger the activity?
We know the channel is a busy place… and can be made even busier without the right help in the right areas. It’s sometimes hard to work harder, but it’s easy to work smarter.
Luckily for us (and potentially for you) we dedicate our lives to channel marketing and developing the most relevant and timely approaches. If you want to see how you could become smarter in your channel activity, get in touch.