Thursday, May 31, 2012

Through Partner Marketing – Marketing Automation alone is not enough

Many of our clients are wrestling with how to best enable partners to design and execute better co-marketing campaigns. With the advent of new media channels, the range and type of marketing activities available has grown exponentially from the early days of direct mail, email and advertising. We view Through Partner Marketing as being grouped into the following areas: 

1.  Corporate assets are packaged materials available for download that partners can use along with their own means to execute campaigns.

2.  Marketing automation includes items that are traditionally automated and available online via software and usually do not require a third party services company to deliver the customized piece. They can be downloaded and executed by the partner using their own means.

3.  An Agency Network is a single agency or network of agencies clients can engage to deliver tailored solutions that are usually provided via services directly to the partner.

In terms of Through Partner Marketing, the maturity curve moves in the 1-3 order, with clients usually starting with downloadable assets, adding marketing automation and then eventually offering an agency network for the full marketing suite. Best in class clients layer in a marketing concierge service help-desk, focused partner/CAM marketing training and enable MDF/Co-op funds to be spent directly in the agency network.

Through Partner Marketing – the Marketing Automation fallacy

Marketing automation of corporate marketing is top of mind for many and there is a large, rapidly growing group of software companies in this space.

However, marketing outreach through partners requires a very different approach than what works for corporate marketing. There is an extra step on the way to the end customer, as Partners are expected to co-brand, embed and repurpose marketing content before it gets to the end customer. This step makes a direct translation from corporate Marketing Automation tools to partner marketing entirely inappropriate.

If you have (or want to have) significant revenue moving through the channel, you need a partner-centric approach that includes more than marketing automation.

The simple fact is that marketing automation vendors cannot provide the full set of capabilities necessary to effectively manage Through Partner Marketing. There are a number of key capabilities to consider when implementing Through Partner Marketing:
  • Management of traditional MDF and Co-op spend in a seamless partner experience
  • Allowance of third party service providers (Agency Network)
  • Seamless integration of the Marketing Automation and Agency Network “ordering” process with MDF requests and Co-op dollars
  • Closed loop reporting that is standardized across MDF/Co-op, Marketing Automation and the Agency network
  • Partner rating of the marketing plays from the Agency Network
Enabling Through Partner Marketing requires a dedicated solution, coupled with key services from a network of professional agencies.

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