Avoid the Heartburn from Channel Marketing Value Meals!

By Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer

January 20, 2015

by Eric Nitschke, Managing Director

Let’s face it: we’ve all ordered the value meal at our favorite fast food joint. They’re often cheap, fast, and easy.

But consumers are shying away from these menus, with “healthy menu options” becoming a priority for 58% of respondents in a recent survey. It seems many people are in search of more fulfilling and satisfying options that help them achieve their goal of a healthier lifestyle.

Channel-marketing organizations have their own version of the value meal: the campaign-in-a-box. You know how it works:

  • Product Marketing creates a campaign based on the features and benefits of the product of the quarter
  • Channel Marketing posts it on the partner portal for partner downloads
  • Partners launch the campaign to varying degrees of success

However, are these “channel value meals” really fulfilling a partner’s version of a healthy lifestyle? Are they feeding the pipeline, trimming the fat, and leading to better numbers at the bottom line? happymeal

SiriusDecisions estimates that more than $10 billion in marketing development funds (MDF) are wasted each year in the channel. And partners regularly report that their supplier partners’ campaigns contribute only a small amount to their total pipeline and revenue.

SiriusDecisions also notes that less than 20% of partners actively participate in channel-marketing programs because they don’t see the value of campaigns that fail to hit the mark.

The right recipe for the campaign value meal

The overriding problem in channel marketing is that most channel-campaign assets are product focused, so they don’t always address the key challenges customers may be facing. And, they rarely provide insights into the unknown, unseen, or under-appreciated exposures customers may not even be aware of.

Here are a few ideas on how to up-level your campaign-in-a-box assets to get greater return on your channel marketing investments.

  • Avoid the competitive bake-off. Channel-marketing assets that focus on your product only prepare partners to compete against another solution. That’s certainly helpful in later-stage buying cycles, but it doesn’t combat the “no decision” challenge. More than 60% of opportunities registered in CRM systems end in “no decision,” which means that the prospect decided that what they’re doing today is good enough. All the product-focused campaign assets in the world won’t help if a customer doesn’t see why they have to change at all.
  • Address why a customer should change from the status quo. Marketers and sales operations teams regularly quote research that customers are 60% through their buying journey before they engage a supplier. However, they often reach those conclusions in a vacuum, without insights into external market factors, competitive benchmarks, or other meaningful factors. That’s where a channel-marketing organization can make the most impact in their campaign assets.
  • Integrate strategy and messaging across marketing and seller-enablement assets. Instead of using your product as the “design point” for your channel-marketing and enablement materials, use the customer as the focus. Start providing your target customer with insight and opportunities that would make a big difference in their business. Then define the resolution of those issues in terms that lead them down the solution path that only you can offer. With that content in mind, you can create insightful channel content that helps partners tell the “why change” story, instead of just pitching product.

A healthier option to the value meal campaign-in-a-box

Fast food companies are responding to consumer demands by offering lighter, healthier options that answer the need for lower carbs, fat and calories, but are still budget-conscious.

Channel organizations can follow suit by creating campaign-in-a-box assets that help partner conversations better align with the needs of customers in today’s evolving business climate.