However, that kind of tactical thinking is contrary to contemporary integrated marketing strategies, and can hinder partners’ long-term marketing opportunities. Those are the challenges we highlight in our “Pitfalls of Partner Marketing”:
- Pitfall #1: Leading exclusively with vendor messaging. Many channel partners try to mimic a vendor’s identity, messages, and value propositions. Be careful when doing so in a competitive market where customers are looking for specific value-added services and offerings they can’t find anywhere else. We always encourage channel partners to develop their own voice and identity separate but complementary to their vendors.
- Pitfall #2: Relying on one-off product campaigns to drive ongoing business. MDF is a dual-edged sword. Vendor products and brands fund quarterly one-off campaigns, but that’s not a marketing plan. Instead, help your partners use your product-led campaigns as part of a multi-touch marketing plan that continuously reinforces a business solution with new and exciting offerings.
- Pitfall #3: The “set it and forget it” static website. Partner websites are simply too important to have stale, static content anymore. There are many great content management systems that can help your partners update their own content without HTML or programming experience. It will help them get in front of their customers, and it will help YOU keep your channel partners using fresh, updated messaging.
The key to avoiding these pitfalls is to help your partners develop a nine-to-twelve month marketing calendar that promotes specific solutions on a quarterly basis. That way you can apply specific vendor and brand MDF dollars as the partner promotes a specific offering within their solution-focused campaign. For example, a business continuity campaign targeting CFOs can still include product messaging as supporting information for the partner solution. The partner gets a chance to show strategic value and grow long-term relationships, and you continue to drive market awareness of your solutions.