To communicate through partners, you simply need purpose-built tools
By T.C. Doyle
You can do a multitude of things with a sturdy screwdriver, but you cannot use it to inflate a tire.
Similarly, you can do many things with your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) — generate leads, coordinate campaigns and measure marketing efficacy, among other things — but you cannot use it to effectively market your products and services through partners. For that, you’ll need another, purpose-built tool: Through Chanel Marketing Automation (TCMA).
Here are three reasons why your MAP is no substitute for TCMA. Actually, let’s make it four reasons (see below), starting with these three:
- You cannot localize business partner campaigns with MAP technology
- You cannot customize through-channel initiatives with a MAP
- You cannot prioritize the timing of channel marketing activities with a MAP
Here’s a closer examination of why not, followed by a bonus, fourth reason why you cannot expect your MAP to do the job of TCMA.
Suppose you create a compelling marketing campaign geared to a specific end-user audience. You’ve done your homework and know your audience’s needs and interests, spending budgets and even their buying journeys.
Thanks to this, you can create a campaign that includes links to web sites they might enjoy, a social media conversation that will help them complete their journey and branding iconography that reinforces their attraction to your brand.
Now try and do the same with a partner in the middle of your campaign. Can you easily attach a partner’s logo to your mailings and landing pages? How about a partner’s social media feed or the URL to its homepage?
Chances are these and other things will be a struggle. And that’s just for one partner.
Now imagine trying to do this for dozens, hundreds if not thousands of partners. Consider the number of images, hyperlinks and contact fields you will need to coordinate. Mix these up and every partner you work with will raise a stink while every customer you hope to attract will be left scratching their heads.
The reason for the issues outlined above have to do with the design and limitations of MAP tools. Simply put, they are not designed to help you automatically localize marketing campaigns through partners. But TCMA technology is.
TCMA can effectively perform “a mail merge” of digital assets for campaigns that include partner assets and digital information.
If your organization offers goods and services in different sizes, configurations, product categories and geographies, then there’s little chance that you can fully automate marketing campaigns and other activities with your partners using a MAP. This is especially true if your company has tiers of reseller partners with different levels of access or interest to your catalogue. Here’s why.
Imagine you’re a maker of healthcare products ranging from very sophisticated surgical-quality hip replacements to basic commodities such as personal protective equipment (PPE). Chances are that not all of your partners are authorized or inclined to sell your complete catalogue. If you launch a campaign that sends end customers to partner home pages, your partners are going to want their customers to see only the products from your company that they actively sell. Partners do not want to overwhelm potential customers with your complete catalogue, in other words. And whatever you offer for partners to show to customers on their websites, they are going to expect it to be in their preferred language.
While this might sound simple, it isn’t if you’re trying to use a tool that wasn’t designed to allow for individual partner customization. With a robust TCMA solution, you can customize campaigns around products, services, price points, geographies, reseller authorizations and much more.
By doing so, you will make both you and your partner more relevant to end customers.
Timing is everything in business, so the old adage goes. With marketing, the maxim is often true. Again, take partners.
As a vendor or services provider, you take great pride in the efforts you put forth on behalf of partners. This includes the quality of materials you provide them, the level of sophistication in the messages you craft and even the exactitude of the offers you create. But sometimes your timing may be out of synch with a partner you hope to help.
Some of your partners may be new to your company, for example, and not ready to introduce their customers to your goods and services. Other partners may be concerned that some of your efforts dilute or overwhelm marketing efforts of their own. And still more may be dismayed that your campaign conflicts with that of another supplier or provider they represent to the market.
To partners with these concerns, timing is everything. But they are out of luck if your marketing tools lack effective prioritization capabilities that help partners and vendors alike get the timing of their marketing activities aligned and in-synch.
TCMA technology can help you automate and coordinate this for partners with ease. But MAP tools? In most cases they struggle with this essential functionality.
Finally, here’s one additional reason why you shouldn’t think of a MAP as a substitute for TCMA: Google Ads. Without a TCMA, you will struggle with harmonization of your marketing initiatives. Again, here’s why.
When it comes to Google search, only a relative handful of partners can match the brand recognition of a product vendor or service provider. If your organization relies on channel partners to satisfy end customers, this presents a challenge for those that search the web for your goods and services. Your challenge is how to easily and effectively connect customers who find you through a Google search to individual partners best positioned to satisfy their needs.
If you try to achieve this with most MAP tools, you run the risk of missing an elegant handoff from you to your partners. Not so with sophisticated TCMA technology. Take Impartner’s TCMA toolset, which features “Smart Linking” technology that allows vendors to harmonize their content with that of their partners so that end customers who perform a Google search not only get the right product or service information they seek, but the right channel partner as well.
With Smart Linking, Impartner customers can easily blend partner information such as a home page, physical address and contact info with their own marketing content that surfaces in a typical Google search. And they can do this with a thousand partners as easily as they can for a few dozen.
For more on how TCMA can help you provide partners the localization, customization and prioritization they need to make the most of your marketing efforts, ask for an Impartner TCMA demo today.
You won’t be able to inflate a tire with Impartner TCMA, but you sure can harmonize your through channel marketing activities with it. That will get your rolling to wherever you want to go.
T.C. Doyle is the Channel Growth Evangelist at Impartner, the leader in channel management and Partner Relationship Management (PRM) technology. A journalist, book author and analyst, Doyle has worked in media for three decades. As channel evangelist, Doyle produces podcasts, case studies, e-books and more for Impartner. Doyle can be reached at email@example.com.