Halloween Special 4 - The Nightmare on Channel Street: Marketing Development Funds

Full Transcript
Convey MicroCast Series

This is Carolyn Bradfield and you’re listening to the Convey MicroCast audio series.  

This week is our Halloween MicroCast series and we gave Freddy Krueger a shout out in our first episode, the Nightmare on Channel Street.  We identified nightmares in the channel that keep you up at night, can ruin your channel program and destroy your revenue.  Today we’re going to focus on vendors that checked into the Bates Motel, handed over their MDF funds, and thought they were getting the key to channel revenue, only to never come out alive.

Your Vegas hotel bill, those huge green fees at the golf tournament, or sponsorships for that expensive cocktail party have been washed down the drain with very few partners that you hoped would engage actually selling your services.  You try to wake up from the nightmare where you are being chased by your management team, screaming that you don’t know what the ROI is, which partners were converted and what revenue is going to result from your efforts. 

You are caught up at the Bates Motel in the Nightmare on Channel Street, but there are ways to make sure that your marketing development funds give you a provable ROI, don’t break your budget and produce partner relationships and customer referrals.  Here are some thoughts. 

Don’t overspend on live events by changing your event strategy.

Vendors tend to overspend on events by sponsoring a cocktail party, complete with a killer band, great drinks and in a cool venue.  But those events often have other vendors clogging them up and little opportunity to engage directly with the partner that you want relationships with.  

Consider creating a niche event that is more innovative and creates an exclusive gathering that entices your partners to attend and because you view them as important in your go-to-market strategy.  More intimate events that give the partner a personal experience and offer the channel team the opportunity to participate in activities directly with the partner are much less expensive than the big blowout. Think a Top Golf outing, wine tasting, or fireside chat with a local celebrity.

And, don't feel you have to go it alone.  There are vendors that offer services that are compatible vs. competitive to yours.  Invite them to co-sponsor and add an educational component that is not product-focused but more industry and market focused.

Create educational, virtual partner events that you can execute for a fraction of the cost of a live event.

Webinars and podcasts continue to be a hot trend in content marketing. They are inexpensive and effective if they are done right.  Make those events short and use your marketing budget to pay an industry thought leader to bring an expert or knowledge perspective vs. focusing on trying to sell your products and services over the web.  People will come to hear the thoughts of people that are different and interesting.  Think about the power of Ted Talks that attract massive audiences.

Consider offering knowledge on the vertical markets your customers exist in, on selling strategies, and on strategies that partners can use in general to grow their business. Virtual events can be delivered with minimal marketing funds because there is no travel involved and no expense in finding a venue, paying for food and drinks, and those pricey giveaways.

Execute a digital strategy to help sales partners market directly to their customers and prospects.

Partners have spent years building customer relationships or creating contacts in their local marketplaces that could become customers.  However, they don’t have the time, creativity or expertise to execute an effective digital marketing strategy.  Allocate your MDF funds to reward partners who are willing to let you help them