5 Key Ingredients to Maximize Return on Managed Channel Marketing Services

​To increase the frequency and boost the effectiveness of their partners’ marketing activities, a growing number of channel vendors are now adding managed marketing services to their marketing enablement systems. Managed marketing services typically include pre-packaged marketing campaigns, as well as campaign execution services (production, fulfillment, etc.). With managed marketing services, channel vendors give their partners access to a “storefront” of complete, ready-to-execute marketing programs.

To increase the frequency and the effectiveness of channel partner marketing, a growing number of channel vendors are adding managed marketing services to their marketing enablement systems.

When channel partners want to run a particular marketing campaign, they simply “order” it via an intuitive interface that mimics the shopping experience provided by consumer websites like Amazon.com. Once ordered, the channel vendor (or, more likely, the vendor’s marketing enablement solution partner) executes the campaign, making it completely turnkey for channel partners. The campaigns made available to channel partners are typically pre-approved for the channel vendor’s MDF program, so channel partners don’t need to pay for the campaign and then seek reimbursement. Instead, the channel vendor pays any external service providers directly.

Channel vendors that offer managed marketing services typically work with a marketing services firm that provides both the partner marketing automation technology platform and the marketing execution services. Most channel vendors find that outsourcing the day-to-day management and operation of a managed marketing services program is more effective and less costly than managing the program using internal resources. In some cases, the managed services offering will include marketing campaigns provided by several marketing services firms. Regardless of who actually provides the services, channel partners have access to what is essentially a “marketplace” of pre-approved, ready-to-execute marketing campaigns.

Providing managed marketing services to a network of channel partners adds a significant layer of complexity to a channel vendor’s marketing enablement efforts. When a channel vendor adds managed marketing services, it becomes an active participant in the marketing efforts of its channel partners, and this places new demands on the vendor’s channel management operations.

To develop a successful managed marketing services program, we recommend that channel vendors follow five core best practices.​​

1.  Offer the Right Campaigns and Services

2.  Make it Easy to Use

3.  Don't Neglect Non-Campaign Content

4.  Include marketing Concierge Services

5.  Educate Your Partners

ad1. Offer the Right Campaigns and Services — The long-term success of a managed marketing services program depends primarily on the effectiveness and value of the campaigns and services the program provides. When determining what campaigns and services to offer, channel vendors will obviously rely on their knowledge and experience regarding what marketing programs are effective for their products or services. In addition, however, channel vendors should talk to their partners to learn what kinds of marketing campaigns, services, and materials will be most valuable. Most importantly, channel vendors should monitor the results produced by all of the campaigns included in their managed services offering and adjust the mix of campaigns and services based on actual results.

2. Make It Easy To Use — Ease of use is second only to campaign effectiveness in determining the success of a managed marketing services program. Channel vendors must remember that most of their channel partners are probably working with five or six channel vendors.7 Most channel partners have only a limited amount of time to spend on marketing, and they will naturally gravitate to those channel vendors whose marketing programs are easier to use. Therefore, it’s essential for channel vendors to make it simple and easy for channel partners to access and utilize the resources provided in their marketing enablement system.

Managed marketing services include pre- packaged marketing campaigns, as well as campaign execution services. With managed marketing services, channel vendors give their partners access to complete, ready-to-execute marketing programs.

3. Don’t Neglect Non-Campaign Content — When a channel vendor launches a managed services program, there is a natural tendency to give less attention to other aspects of marketing enablement. It’s important to remember, however, that high- performing marketing enablement systems will provide support for the marketing and sales efforts of channel partners across the entire revenue cycle. Therefore, channel vendors should also make “non-campaign” content resources available via their partner portal. Non-campaign content obviously includes marketing collateral documents, but it should also include sales enablement content such as presentation slide decks, presentation scripts, and proposal templates.

4. Include Marketing Concierge Services — A robust and well-designed managed marketing services program will greatly simplify the marketing function for channel partners. However, many channel partners, particularly smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 partners, may need additional support to run effective marketing programs on a frequent basis. Therefore, channel vendors should seriously consider including “marketing concierge” services in their marketing enablement system. Concierge services give channel partners access to marketing experts who can provide partners one-on-one advice and support regarding how to choose the most effective marketing campaigns and materials for their business.

5. Educate Your Partners — Even a robust marketing enablement system will be of little value if channel partners don’t use it. One key to increasing usage is to make sure that channel partners fully understand what marketing resources and services are available and how to access and effectively use those resources. Therefore, a comprehensive “partner onboarding” program should be an integral component of a marketing enablement system.

In conclusion, effective marketing enablement is critical to driving increased revenues from indirect sales channels. Many channel partners don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to run effective marketing programs on a regular and frequent basis. Today, a growing number of channel vendors are combining financial incentives, marketing automation technologies, and managed marketing services to create high-performing marketing enablement systems that equip their channel partners with the resources, tools, and education they need to develop and execute successful marketing programs.

The right combination of technology and consulting services will help you transform the way you support your channel partners. Can you imagine if each one of your partners sold just one more of your product or service? For free advice, download our White Paper covering this topic.​ 

This was part of a seven series blog post. You can read up on the other six posts starting with the first one by clicking here.​ 

About the Author

Tami Marek-Loper, President and Chief Visionary Officer for The Marek Group, Inc., a visionary thinker, pushing the envelope of what is possible in order to achieve greatness for both her company and her clients. "Thinking outside of the box is where you will find the ideas that change the world", is a living and breathing mantra found everywhere inside the company she helps to lead.

Field Sales Enablement is where her 20+ years of printing, marketing and technology have culminated. Providing frontline sales people with the right content, at the right time and in the right medium to maximize outcomes. By using data and predictive modeling, The Marek Group's Field Sales Effectiveness Platform can recommend to sales the exact piece of content needed to move the sale forward.