Channel Marketing Programs to Engage and Activate Your Partners

By Yeager Marketing

Getting partners to participate in supplier-built channel marketing programs is an ongoing challenge for many channel marketing teams. Partners want interesting and innovative programs that are easily implemented, result in real sales opportunities, and highlight their brand and value proposition. Yet few supplier programs address all of these desires.

Prior to Covid-19, many partner programs relied on in-person events. Now, according to McKinsey, over ¾ of buyers and sellers actually prefer a digital decision making process because it allows them to research, understand their options, and interact with providers quickly and efficiently. Helping your partners embrace digital marketing not only gives them more measurable and cost-effective solutions, but also enables them to promote based on buyer preferences.

That’s why we put together this quick list of 3 channel marketing partner program ideas to help you get started. All 3 can be funded with MDF, standardized to simplify implementation, and rolled out to your partners with customization options for co-branding.

Idea 1: Account Based Marketing

There’s a lot of talk about ABM today, and for good reason. An account-based approach will help your partners drive focused, targeted marketing and sales efforts towards the accounts that will have the most impact on their business. It will also help your partners clarify their value proposition uniquely for target accounts, develop personalized communications that engage contacts in buying committees, and build relationships with decision-makers as well as key influencers. Give your partners an ABM program built around a 1:1 or 1:Few approach to get them started on strategic paths that unite marketing and sales goals in a powerful way.

Idea 2: Gamification Programs

Gamification is a fun, innovative way to help your partners engage and connect with buyers. Online games like puzzles or quizzes can be built to assess prospect knowledge on a specific topic, identify areas of interest, and uncover new selling opportunities. You can also create games that offer incentives, giving your partners another way to connect with potential customers. To drive extra incentive and engagement, add competitive elements such as leaderboards or badges, shareable gamer reactions, or awards for top performers. The big bonus here is that online games are highly shareable and fantastic to promote on social media, which will expand your partners’ marketing reach with little to no additional spend.

Another great way to use gamification is to train and up-skill your partners. Informational and interactive gaming programs are a highly effective approach to help your partners learn and retain new information about your products, solutions, and services ー especially if they’re incentivized to participate. The incorporation of leaderboards and prizes creates a spirit of competition across your partner ecosystem.

Idea 3: Videos and Webinars

Partners want to showcase their brand and value proposition, and video is a great way to do that. Videocasts and webinars give them the opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders to their audiences. Your partners can interview your SMEs or executives, allowing them to promote their partnership and bring your expertise closer to the customers. They can also interview their own customers to showcase their value and capabilities in solving problems and delivering innovation. The beauty of a program like this is that one effort provides video and audio content that can also be repurposed into a podcast, giving partners more content to promote across more channels.

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