Channel partner programs

Three Channel Marketing Trends for 2017

As we push deeper into January 2017, it’s time to look at how the latest Channel marketing trends can help Vendors and Partners drive demand. While everything from products and services to routes-to-market is rapidly shifting, we recommend Vendors pay special attention to three emerging strategies to stay top-of-mind with Partners throughout 2017:

1. Tailored resources and communications

As digital transformation takes over, Partners have more Vendor choices than ever before.  Not only that but with the cloud, customers sometimes don’t even know it’s your solution they deployed. To add value in today’s climate, Vendors need to be more supportive by creating resources that truly help Partners drive success.

This also means taking a tailored approach to Partner communications. Today’s Channel is focused on building and nurturing relationships. Whether it’s email communications or social media posts, blasting general information to your entire audience won’t help. In fact, they’ll tune out if they realize your messages aren’t catered to them. Instead, work to understand your Partners’ businesses and create a content calendar and communications plan tailored to their specific pain points and preferences on how to get information.

2. Paid Social Advertising

We used to talk about social media being free. While this is technically still the case, social media platforms figured out a way to make us rely more on their premium and paid advertising services. Sure, signing up for Facebook is free, but if you want to actually show up on somebody’s feed, their algorithms favor paid posts.

Speaking of Facebook, it’s no longer just for B2C. In fact, as we heard at Inbound 2016 back in November, B2B organizations have an incredible opportunity with paid Facebook advertising because the platform finally knows how to segment by title, company and role of our targets. It’s time for Vendors (and Partners for “through” marketing) to take advantage of this unique position in 2017.

3. Demand Generation Through Partners

In 2016, we talked a lot about the disappearance of the one-size-fits-all Partner Program and resources. Today’s Partners are diverse – with different capabilities and focuses. What Vendors are still struggling with as they rebuild their Programs in 2017 is figuring out how to provide Partners with the demand generation resources they need, regardless of where they are in their Partner journey.

Just as communications are becoming tailored, your demand generation resources need to be customizable, as well. This year, think less about where Partners are in your Partner ecosystem. Instead, focus on what it is they need in order to be successful whether it’s social selling education, content creation and distribution assistance, or help developing and implementing an overarching integrated strategy. Want to assess where Partners stand with their demand generation efforts? Stay tuned to learn how you can identify your Partners’ Channel Maven Demand Generation (CMDG) score in February 2017.

We’re always interested in hearing other perspectives. What Channel Marketing trends are top of your list this year and why?

Author: Heather Margolis

Heather Margolis is president and founder of Channel Maven Consulting. Read more Channel Maven Consulting blogs here.