How to Boost the Performance of Channel Marketing


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Every day, thousands of companies sell products and services through independent or quasi-independent channel partners such as franchisees, independent agents, or value-added resellers. Most companies that sell through channel partners operate in a distributed marketing environment. Distributed marketing refers to a marketing model in which both a corporate brand owner and channel partners plan and execute marketing campaigns and programs. The defining attribute of a distributed marketing model is that the “local” business organizations – i.e. channel partners – have some degree of autonomy when performing marketing functions.

Many B2B companies derive a significant portion of their total revenues from sales made by channel partners, and these companies face marketing challenges that firms with “regular” marketing operations don’t typically encounter.

  • Brand owners and channel partners often have different marketing priorities. Corporate marketers tend to focus on building the brand, while channel partners want to run marketing programs that will generate leads and drive short-term sales.
  • Maintaining consistent brand messaging and brand presentation is extremely difficult when dozens or hundreds of channel partners are executing marketing programs.
  • Many channel partners are small organizations that don’t have the in-house expertise to create effective marketing campaigns and/or the resources to run campaigns as frequently as they should.
  • Brand owners often have little visibility regarding the effectiveness of the marketing programs run by their channel partners.

Because of these and other challenges, channel marketing operations are often far less effective and efficient than they need to be, resulting in excessive marketing costs, poor response rates to marketing programs, and missed revenue opportunities for both brand owners and their channel partners.

To address the complexities of channel marketing, a growing number of companies are turning to a relatively new category of marketing automation technologies known generally as distributed marketing solutions.

A distributed marketing solution is a combination of technological capabilities and marketing support services that are designed to streamline and simplify marketing activities and processes for both channel partners and brand owners. At the most basic level, distributed marketing solutions are designed to facilitate two core marketing functions – the creation, execution, and measurement of marketing campaigns, and the management of marketing materials.

Distributed marketing solutions can provide brand owners and channel partners a range of important benefits. Specifically, they enable companies to:

  • Increase the frequency of local marketing by making it easy for channel partners to create and execute marketing campaigns and programs
  • Enhance the effectiveness of local marketing by making it easy for channel partners to create and use more customized marketing messages and materials
  • Improve the consistency of brand messaging and presentation through the use of a centralized repository of marketing assets combined with controlled customization of those assets
  • Reduce marketing support costs by eliminating the manual processes typically used to manage and fulfill requests for marketing materials and to manage materials inventories
  • Reduce obsolescence waste by eliminating the need to acquire marketing materials in large quantities.

I’ve recently released a white paper that describes the challenges faced by channel marketers and explains how distributed marketing solutions work. The new white paper is part of our portfolio of marketing content resources for providers of distributed marketing/marketing asset management/web-to-print solutions. If you’d like to see a review copy of this white paper, just send an e-mail to ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Dodd
David Dodd is a B2B business and marketing strategist, author, and marketing content developer. He works with companies to develop and implement marketing strategies and programs that use compelling content to convert prospects into buyers.


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