Most Australian channel businesses are tech businesses, not expert marketers.
Big vendors know this and respond by offering marketing material that they suggest can be re-used by even the most marketing-shy partners.
The template for using such material is simple: insert your logo and contact details in the blank space, follow the vendor’s instructions on how to share it on social media or email, then wait for the leads to flood in.
Which sounds great in theory. But in the real world, CRN readers know that cookie-cutter marketing never feels sincere and seldom cuts through.
So how to best use these assets?
Dicker Data general manager Ben Johnson told CRN that vendor material is a good start, but needs work.
“Partners need to see the vendor content as a foundation to build their own messaging on top of,” Johnson said. “The vendor content is very good at selling the vendor’s product and if a partner sends that out without articulating their value, it’s a missed opportunity for their business.”
Vendors agree, and are also willing to assist.
A Dell representative told us that while partners who follow its guidance on using its marketing material tend to achieve better ROI, “What usually works the best is when the partners leverage our materials with their branding and utilise them in effective and innovative ways through proactive marketing methods.”
“Our partners are fantastic at their unique positioning, our material is there to compliment them,” the representative said.
Veeam told us its white-label content isn’t intended to be a partner’s only marketing effort.
“We advise partners to leverage the materials as part of their wider marketing plan,” the company told CRN.
Tech marketing consultant Pru Quinlan has similar advice.
“[The channel] shouldn't just be thinking of themselves as a sales outlet for one IT vendor so they need to give some time — and possibly a little budget — to thinking about how they want to sell themselves, what's their value add for potential customers.”
And she also advises working with an outside partner, for perspective and advice.
“The reality is that as a small business, no matter how small they are, they actually need to be giving serious thought to have their positioning of building market,” Quinlan said.
Dicker Data’s Johnson advises that money to fund such efforts is going un-spent.
“We’re seeing vendors offering partners more marketing investment than ever before and with the changes some are making to their partner programs for 2020, that investment is only going to increase in the next 12 months,” he told CRN. “However, there is an issue with market development funds (MDF) utilisation in the channel. We often see partners not consuming every dollar that’s offered by their vendors, or worse, we see partners who have thousands of dollars amassed in MDF that don’t know how to access the money or didn’t know the money was there. In turn, this is creating an even bigger opportunity for the partners who are investing in marketing to scoop up those extra funds.”
So what are you waiting for, readers?
Go get that vendor content, adapt it, run it by an external marketer paid for with MDF someone else has ignored.
You’ll be able to retire to a yacht in an amazingly short period of time! And all without putting a marketer on staff!