PRM Best Practice: Partner Communication III


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The message consists of three basic elements:

  • Syntax – What you say.
  • Semantics – How you say it and how you want it to be interpreted.
  • Call to action – What you want the receiver to do next.

Syntax and Semantics

We will not attempt to use this post as a means of providing instruction on the use of the English language but rather to look at practical ways of effectively targeting the message at different audiences of receivers and of adapting the message itself to be more effective at maximizing your chances of maximizing call to action response.

The best way to do this is with an example with which we will also look at some other considerations relating to the message not covered elsewhere. If you intended to communicate the launch of a new product for example, you could adopt any one or all of the following approaches to receiver selection and segmentation and message adaptation for the communication:

  • Restrict the audience to only those channel partners authorized to sell the product
  • Send the message out to field-based partner staff eg sales via social media, SMS and mail to maximize the impact and immediacy

Then in consideration of the message itself:

  • Adapt the syntax of the message so that the message is relevant and interesting to:
  • Sales people – features, functions, benefits and incentives etc.
  • Marketing people – media plan, availability of collateral, MDF accruals etc.
  • Pre-sales – competitive benchmarking, whitepapers technical information etc.
  • Technical – Technical schematics, warranty policy, spare parts availability etc.
  • Operations and purchasing – Pricing, part codes, options and accessories, availability etc.
  • Adapt the semantics of the message:
    • Why should you sell this?
    • How should you market this?
    • Why should you recommend this to your customer?
    • How can you service and support this?
    • How can you buy and stock this?

    And what of timing? Could you adapt the timing of the communication to maximize its effect?

    • Operations and purchasing may need to know first so the part codes and pricing can be set up on their ERP system.
    • Technical and pre-sales may need to know next so that they can undergo training.
    • Marketing may be next as they will need to plan media schedules and order collateral etc.

    Call to Action

    Each and every partner communication must have a call to action. If the recipient must do no more than read a message the chances of them retaining it and acting on it are small. If they must do something – make a conscious effort to take an action in order to:

    • Access more information
    • Download a document
    • Sign up for an incentive
    • Order brochures
    • Order inventory
    • Enroll for a training course

    or indeed in any way participate or interact with you they will remember the experience. It will have an impact and the chances of them following through with the desired behavior are much enhanced. The most effective place to do this is where your content is richest and most abundant – your partner portal.

    There is some parallel to be drawn here with the psychology of the “freebie”. If something is free or if obtaining it requires no effort and / or no investment then its perceived value is low. By contrast, (and of course there is a fine line that you need to tread) if something requires effort or investment to obtain then it must have a greater value.

    In summary, always have a call to action whatever it may be because a communication without one may well be forgotten in less time than it took to read it.

    Next week we’ll be talking about desired responses, repetition and frequency of communication.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Morgan
Mike has over 20 years of ICT, OA and CE channel sales and marketing management experience and is responsible for Relayware's global go-to-market strategy as well as the sales and marketing functions while overseeing the company's operations worldwide. Mike is recognized as one of the industry's leading experts in indirect go-to-market strategy best practice.


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