Digital marketing is all the rage these days and provides some of the most cost-effective consumer marketing available. It includes all forms of online advertising, email, SMS messaging, social media, mobile marketing and reputation management -- pretty much anything you access on a computer or mobile device.
Digital marketing is also extremely targeted because messages are often delivered to specific audience members based on their identities or behaviors. No more mass broadcasting to everyone with a radio or TV set!
So it’s easy to understand why smart marketers are trying to figure out ways to integrate it into their brand’s marketing mix, but the complexities specific to channel organizations leave many scratching their heads. So what’s that smart marketer to do?
There are three things to keep in mind when setting up your digital marketing:
- Don’t Bother Educating Your Channel Partners About It
That’s right. We said it. It might not seem very friendly or collaborative, but honestly, just don’t even try. The time it will take for you to create the educational resources necessary plus the time it would take for them to go through and learn everything just doesn’t make sense. Think about it. That’s time being taken away from actually running your businesses and making sales.
Plus, even if you do spend the time to create the resources and if they spend the time to learn about digital marketing, the complexity to execute it is very difficult and is generally best left to the professionals. Any of your partners that would succeed on their own probably had previous knowledge and experience.
Case in point: We have a client who built an educational portal to help educate their network members on the importance of and how to implement successful digital marketing, but found that only about 15% ever used it. They wanted the fruit, but they didn’t have the time to learn to sow.
We suggest just sharing WHY digital marketing is a great addition to a marketing strategy, and then just do it for them.
- Just Pick Up The Tab, But Your Way
Most brands already help pay for some local marketing (maybe even digital), but it can get tricky when single point solution providers are in the mix and you have to utilize co-op reimbursement systems.
To keep control of the co-funding process, as well as the actual messaging that is being sent out, offer to pick up the whole tab to kickstart engagements.
Now, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, as some of your channel partners need to present themselves to their local community or audience under their brand, not yours. In that case, as the brand, you’d want to provide funds based on performance parameters for that individual partner.
Case in point: Gary’s Insurance is known in the community as the most honest and hardworking insurance agent. He sells a number of different insurance products, including one of your brand’s. You can incent Gary to promote your product or offer through digital marketing and help pay for it based on co-op funds he has accrued from previous sales.
- Clean Up Before You Start Building
It’s always wise to tidy up before embarking on something new, and implementing new marketing processes is no different. You’ll want to take a hard look at the current legacy systems you might have in place and make sure they are delivering in a way that is satisfactory. Maybe it’s time to go vendor shopping!
The key to successful digital marketing management is to combine, streamline and automate all you can, and as it relates to message broadcast, funds management with results measurement.
These planning tips should help you overcome the biggest challenges when implementing digital marketing for your channel. Go get ‘em!
About the Author
Gary Ritkes, President of SproutLoud, oversees all Business Development and Marketing for the company. Gary, a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology, is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS), which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He has served as a board member of the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation chapter and other national industry associations, including the DMA and AGA.More Content by Gary Ritkes