Carriers: These 3 Major Marketing Mistakes Are Alienating Your Partners

Angry Businessman
Mojo Marketing's Angela Leavitt

Angela Leavitt

By Angela Leavitt, Mojo Marketing

Channel Partners Insights logoYour marketing department works hard to create through-channel marketing campaigns and materials for your partners, who badly need the help. In most cases, partners lack the budget, skill set and/or time to create their own marketing campaigns. You also recognize that you must engage your partners – and market through them to their end-user base – for everyone to be successful.

And yet, the materials you’re creating are sitting on your portal untouched, collecting dust. Most companies I speak with see about a 5 percent engagement rate. Frustrating, right?

What’s even more frustrating? Your partners are asking for marketing help. They want and need these materials, so why aren’t they using them?

I feel your pain, as well as theirs.

On the bright side, in 2018 we saw more carriers offering marketing support to their partners, which is awesome and so desperately needed. You are definitely on the right track. The bad news is, in too many cases, the help you’re offering isn’t exactly what they want or need. I know this because they have told me so – over and over again – in a “what are these carriers thinking” kind of tone. I have a unique position to speak on this subject since I work on both sides of the partner-carrier fence, many times acting as the bridge that connects the two sides. I’ve heard what both parties have to say.

With that insight, here are three reasons why your partners aren’t engaging with your marketing campaigns along with solid suggestions for course corrections that can pave a solid pathway to more successful through-channel marketing campaigns.

Problem 1: Your through-channel marketing campaigns are too branded to your companyYour partners present themselves as carrier-neutral consultants. When you create an email campaign, ebook or flyer with a six-inch version of your logo in the header and your brand colors from top to bottom, this feels disingenuous to the partner. It doesn’t feel like them. They don’t want to send it to their prospects because it removes them from a neutral, carrier-agnostic position. Instead, it makes them look like a shill for your brand.

Yes, we know partners have their favorite carriers and that they aren’t 100 percent neutral at all times. But they still want to come across that way to their customers.

Carriers: Not sure you have the right stuff to help partners market? Here are three core elements of a scalable channel marketing strategy. READ NOW!

Solution: Downplay your brand while highlighting your partner’s brand. I know this is hard because you’re doing the work to create the materials, so you want the results. You’re worried the partner will generate leads using your resources and then sell them another solution. News flash: This will happen regardless. The partner is always going to sell (in theory) the best solution for the customer, and that might not always be you. But I encourage you to let go of this fear and look at the bigger picture. If you’re the one creating campaigns that work, you will get more sales. You will also get more partners because word will spread that you have marketing campaigns that deliver results. And that will build loyalty.

Will you get all the sales? Probably not. But you will get a vast majority while also building a highly engaged partner base that looks to you for help. To me, that’s well worth the effort and potential risk of losing a handful of opportunities.

Here’s how to downplay your brand and highlight your partners:

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  1. Avatar Tom Reda December 4, 2018 @ 5:41 am

    Fundamentally sound, spot-on, actionable strategies, designed to enhance the carrier-partner relationship, yet equally applicable to any organization that markets through channel partners.

    • Avatar Angela Leavitt December 4, 2018 @ 10:25 am

      Thank you, Tom! This article is the result of many, many conversations, so I’m happy to hear it resonated with you.

  2. Avatar Daniel Pitney December 6, 2018 @ 10:59 am

    This article hits the nail on the head! The importance of the partner brand is well stated. As independent advisors continue to garner the highest win rates in the business, their marketing programs have to strike a fine balance: demonstrate supplier expertise without implying supplier loyalty.

    On the topic of turn-key, managed marketing programs, there is one aspect that our company (a UC+CC Supplier) does let the partner manage themselves, and that’s the list. By turning over this list management to the partner directly, it can be managed securely and privately on our 3rd party platform, ie., there is no need to “share” the list with us unless the partner chooses to.

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