Channel Marketing is a distinct marketing discipline that is undergoing a tremendous amount of change at the moment. From B2B2C, more has to be accomplished with less – more demand, more leads, and more sales with less staff and less budget. Channel marketers have responded to the challenge by turning to technology that bridges the gap between Marketing and Sales, enabling the delivery of content and marketing assets to partners and end-customers.
Much has been written about Sales Enablement and Marketing Automation, the delivery platforms for the next generation of channel marketing. This blog is an introduction and overview of Channel Marketing 2.0 and the content, assets, and tools that are served up by these platforms.
In the seamlessly integrated 2.0 world of Channel Marketing, content and assets can be classed into two groups – Inbound, with an emphasis on user experience and behavior modification, and Outbound, which opens up routes to market with news and information.
- Inbound (user experience) content and assets are on the Marketing side of the equation and include a wide range of vehicles for engagement, including websites, the Internet (display, contextual, affiliate, search), in-store, social media, apps, PRM, communities, and portals
- Outbound (route to market) content and assets are designed to track directly with Sales through Sales Channels, examples of which include e-Commerce, Direct, e-tail, Retail, Distributors, Public Sector, and Enterprise
Content and assets need to be activated if they are to achieve behavioral change, the measurable deliverables of Channel Marketing. Because content and assets have a time-limited life cycle that needs to be managed, a standard set of scalable and repeatable tools must be put in place and leveraged to optimize the value of each asset as it contributes to the overall channel marketing effort.
The Channel Marketing 2.0 tools are digital upgrades to their 1.0 forebears:
- Marketing Tools carry a Call to Action and include webinars, white papers, demos, videos, thought leadership, offers, and more
- Sales Tools deliver information relevant to specific routes and include information on products, verticals, corporate presentations, research, case studies, training, and more
Channel Marketing 2.0 requires the creation of content and assets with corresponding Sales & Marketing tools to communicate and deliver the campaigns and programs that act as containers for these deliverables.
Sales Enablement platforms allow Channel Marketing departments to get the right information to the right person at the right time and place – bearing in mind that someone has to create and administer the information that is put out there.
Marketing Automation platforms manage campaigns and develop responses into sales – bearing in mind that someone has to create the campaigns and vehicles for engagement, define the business logic, and track the results.
Channel Marketing 1.0 is a linear process that is accessible, scalable, repeatable, and self service, facilitated by end-to end enabling technology. Channel Marketing 2.0 adds ala carte offerings of full service partner marketing activities facilitated by ubiquitous enabling technologies
For more than 10 years, ALPHA has been at the forefront of delivering more efficient, more effective marketing that supports sales and drives demand. Our involvement in Channel Marketing 2.0 has been driven by our clients, who are rapidly embracing new technologies and solutions that require programs, content, and assets to be created, distributed, and leveraged in new ways. These enabling technologies can be customized or custom-built, used ad hoc, or integrated as part of an orchestrated Channel Marketing Management system. The shift to Channel Marketing 2.0 does not need to be dramatic. If you just keep repeating ‘Scalable and Repeatable’ you’ll stay on the right track.