It’s a business-changing day for a manufacturer when you find out that a distributor has agreed to partner with you and sell your product through their independent dealer or retailer network. Or possibly you are a manufacturer that has determined your service or product will be sold directly from corporate to channel sales partners -such as franchise and independently owned retail stores. Both are common approaches in sales and distribution.
These profitable sales partnerships bring marketing challenges to your brand and national marketing campaigns. When channel marketing is understood at both the corporate and local levels, your company will increase the probability of success with national marketing efforts, carried through to the local level.
Let’s look at two different perspectives that need to be considered for a channel marketing partnership.
Requirements at the national level:
-Control over all brand messaging, unification and promotions
-Scalable solution needed to execute a national campaign
-The ability to track results
-A simple, turnkey marketing technology solution
Requirements at the local level:
-Co-op money incentive. These are independent-minded, small-business owning retailers and dealers that work hard to make their marketing dollars stretch.
-They want local-level marketing support when they are investing their own hard-earned dollars alongside provided co-op money.
-The ability to create comprehensive, yet affordable media plans.
-A simple, turnkey marketing solution that is easy to use online and allows them to tailor marketing for their business and geographic footprint.
Consider how these requirements apply to your corporation’s channel (or field) marketing program. You can strategically execute a local marketing program that mirrors the national strategies. When I bravely entered the marketing world 20 years ago, I had no idea that I would invest so much time strategizing in this niche and diving deep into channel-marketing tactics that produce ROI to help companies achieve their KPIs. The reality is that channel marketing takes the entire concept of marketing to a different level of execution, strategy and team engagement.
How do you get results that replace challenges?
- Continue toward a fully integrated marketing approach. We have customized marketing technology that executes local versioning of corporate-branded creative for any marketing medium.
- Keep localized customization. The customer has a relationship with this local business and they want to know where your national brand is sold. But localize the marketing while protecting your company’s brand standards.
- Accept nothing less than a full alignment of local sales partner marketing with national strategies in place. This adds value to the co-op dollar.
- Stay scalable to respect the local business owner’s budget and offer programs at different investment sizes.
- Be measurable and intentional with what you want to measure. Agree to this before the campaign begins and have a strategy in place to engage your local dealers or retailers into your measurement. They want to see results too. When working with an independent small-business owner you need a willing partner to share their transactional and registration data with you.
Invest in a relationship with any partnership you can. In the long run, the more your local sales partner can sell, the more product they will buy from you as the manufacturer. Sounds simple, but don’t overlook the one-on-one relationship with a local sales or marketing manager and take time to think through what’s needed to sell your channel marketing program into the local level. A solid business relationship with your independent sales partner is the best way to solidify your program and increase participation.
So as you enter next year’s planning mode, strive toward these results- they can be attained. And if you aren’t sure how, reach out to me and we can discuss your channel marketing challenge.