In today’s business world, companies face an unprecedented level of disruption and change. It can be particularly challenging for partner marketers to manage this perfect storm, as they are often balancing the expectations of the enterprise, its customers, the marketing department, and sales teams. This is all amplified exponentially by the number of partners they are supporting.
It’s not that easy to quickly pivot and respond while still delivering results. Yet that is the expectation.
In these times of uncertainty, many organizations want to ‘wait and see,’ which means many marketing teams find themselves operation on the fly.
So, how do you pivot quickly in response to disruption and change to ensure results are still delivered? How do you focus attention on the right things to ensure returns? How do you make doubly certain your messaging resonates to nurture and convert your partners? And how do you create measurable programs to deliver a good return on ecosystems and leads?
The answer is simpler than you might think in a time where complexity seems to be everywhere.
Go back to basics.
When strategies, teams, and priorities are in a state of flux, making it even more difficult to deliver as focus and expectations change quickly – you need to control what you can, to better navigate the rest.
Create the stable foundation you need. And build from there in a way that supports this ‘new normal’ which can feel anything but.
Here are a few ways you can achieve this, informed by our experience-led insights into the state of partner marketing:
Challenge: Who am I really targeting?
To create a strong foundation for partner marketers, it’s essential to define the persona as a foundation for messaging. Small incremental shifts can be impactful. Maybe your target audience or their needs have changed. If so, your alignment between your target personas and your messaging might be out. Which means you’re not hitting the sweet spot you should be.
Solution: Messaging and Persona Alignment
Personas are essentially a personal proposition. They provide valuable insights into who the message is for, what drives them, and how they make decisions Tech Tim or Finance Fran might seem gimmicky, but there is a reason why they work so well. By understanding your personas better, you can perform market research, target advertising, conduct usability testing, and keyword research more efficiently. By bringing in personas (at an organizational level ideally), messaging, and campaigns can be much more targeted, streamlined, and focused on addressing pain points.
And a little hint, especially for tech marketers – sometimes you need to look beyond the ‘obvious’ C-suite. They can be over-subscribed/over-exposed and not always the decision maker. It’s essential to build out and include influencers to shift the risk from a single strong (vulnerable) contact to many.
For more insight on this, read our blog on Tech personas here.
Challenge: Infinite options, very finite resources – where do I put my focus?
Partner marketers often face the challenge of limited resources, including budget, time, and manpower. Even though partner companies drive the majority of revenue at many B2B companies, channel marketing is traditionally underinvested compared to customer-facing marketing programmes. This lack of resources can hinder the ability to execute marketing programs effectively, resulting in missed opportunities and subpar results.
Solution: Prioritisation and Optimisation
This can involve identifying high-impact activities and focusing on those that align with business objectives and partner goals. It can also mean leveraging automation, technology, and data-driven insights to streamline processes and maximize efficiency.
But there is also another area to consider. Your partners themselves. As a marketer, it’s essential to make sure your time, energy, and funds nurture the right partners. Not everyone will be the right fit. In tougher times, you need to take a more strategic approach (rifle vs. shotgun). Partner prioritisation is crucial. Partner Personas, much like their close cousins Buyer Personas, are a way of tailoring focus, activity, and content to really get the most value. And once you know you’re working with the right partners, you can consider things through the right ‘partner lens’ so that you – and your partners – can deliver the right message in the right place at the right time.
To find out more, take a look at our Partner Prioritisation services.
Challenge: How do I know I’m hitting my mark?
Partner marketers often face the challenge of measuring and demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing efforts. Without clear metrics and data-driven insights, it can be difficult to justify marketing spend and demonstrate the impact of partner marketing initiatives.
Solution: Measurable Programmes and Reporting
Partner marketers need to implement measurable programs and reporting mechanisms. Set clear objectives and KPIs for partner marketing initiatives – and make sure they fit your outcomes. Really think about what you need and be specific. Then put those tracking and analytics tools to capture relevant data, and regularly analyse and report on the results.
By demonstrating the ROI of partner marketing efforts with data-backed insights, partner marketers can gain internal buy-in, secure resources, and drive continuous improvement.
To find out more, take a look at our GTM services.
Close the loop
Once partner marketers have laid the groundwork and understand their ideal target audience and what they need, it’s essential to close the loop. A strong digital strategy can serve as a foundation to boost returns and achieve quicker ROI wins. However, it’s important to consider more than just lead generation tactics and quick wins. Partner marketers should also focus on long-term success and returns by creating valuable content, building relationships with influencers, and conducting usability testing and keyword research.
In conclusion, partner marketing presents various challenges, but with the right strategies and approaches, they can be overcome. By staying stay informed, proactive, and data-driven, and continuously optimise their partner marketing efforts for success. By being agile and adaptable, prioritizing efforts, aligning messaging with personas, and measuring and demonstrating ROI, partner marketers can navigate the landscape successfully and achieve their marketing goals.
Written by Shelley Hutton, Value Proposition Lead
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