Channel marketing is not the same as promoting your products and services through marketing channels.
Marketing channels are the platforms and methods you use to reach your target audience and distribute your content and messaging, including SEO, social media, Paid Search, etc.
Channel marketing is the use of third-party partners to promote and sell your products.
When you work with a network of channel partners, you have multiple businesses promoting and selling your products to their audiences.
Here’s what you need to know about it and how it can help your company thrive and grow.
What Is Channel Marketing?
Channel marketing is the process of working with third-party businesses to bring your products to market. Rather than building an audience and distribution network from scratch, channel marketing helps you accelerate growth by leveraging existing networks and audiences.
For example, a company that sells office equipment will sell directly to consumers through its website, catalog, and sales reps.
But they may also use third-party retail stores, affiliates, and e-commerce sites to promote and sell their products to a wider audience. These third-party businesses are channel partners.
Channel marketing is about building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.
It benefits your company by enabling you to expand your reach to audiences you wouldn’t have been able to sell to otherwise.
It benefits your channel partners by allowing them to earn a commission on sales or access a bulk buying discount so they can make a profit selling your products to consumers.
Benefits of Channel Marketing
Channel marketing can help you to accelerate the development of your customer base and support sustainable growth. It has several additional benefits, including:
Channel marketing is much cheaper than hiring employees and dedicating your time and resources to expanding your reach. You can access a huge existing customer base by forging relationships with the right channel partners.
Hiring and training marketing and sales teams to bring your product to market can be expensive. According to a study by DePaul University, a single new sales rep can cost $97,690+ in recruitment, training, and salary expenses.
These costs push up your customer acquisition costs (CAC). Along with customer lifetime value (LTV), your CAC is one of the most critical sales and marketing metrics.
Investing in channel marketing can help you to reduce your CAC and expand your reach quickly. You can offer a commission to your partners and only pay when they generate a sale or offer bulk discounts. Once a customer has purchased your product, they’re much more likely to buy from you or your partner again.
An even more cost-effective way to reduce your CAC is to utilize an agency to help with your strategy and produce your marketing collateral. Check out our infographic to see how much you could save by outsourcing your SEO to an agency.
Increase Brand Recognition
Working with established channel partners can help you to boost brand awareness and tap into existing audiences.
For example, if you work with a well-known partner company, the positivity that audiences feel towards your partner can lend credibility and goodwill to your brand and your products. Therefore, it acts as a recommendation.
Your channel partners can also help you expand your reach to new geographic areas and leverage existing distribution networks. You can sell to consumers in new markets without dedicating your time and resources to developing market coverage from scratch.
If your product appeals to international markets, you can use channel marketing to sell to consumers in multiple languages and locations. A channel partner can translate your marketing campaigns and messaging into the language used in the territory to appeal to new audiences.
Because your channel partners have an existing relationship with their audience, they’ll know how to best target and market your product to potential buyers.
Variety of Promotional Tactics and Marketing Channels
Your channel partners will conduct their own marketing using a range of digital channels. This adds variety to the tactics used to promote your product. It can help expand your reach to new platforms and channels. In 2018, 40% of consumers used social media to research products.
Your channel partner will have an existing audience and know what works best to engage potential customers, generate conversions, and increase your product sales. You may discover that your partner’s tactic to promote your product is more effective than what your marketing team has been using.
Working with a range of channel partners may also reveal new marketing channels that you and your competitors have overlooked. You can gain an advantage by utilizing a channel that is untapped by your competitors.
Channel Marketing Challenges and Downsides
Channel marketing is a cost-effective and sustainable way to scale and increase your reach. But it also presents some challenges that need to be overcome.
Maintaining a consistent brand promise and unique selling proposition (USP) can be difficult when you’re collaborating with multiple channel partners.
Your partners will usually want to produce their own content and promotional material. This is one of the key benefits, but it can be an issue if your partners use messaging and content that doesn’t align with your brand identity.
Channel partners use their own platforms and marketing channels. This can also make it challenging to see campaigns’ effectiveness and gain access to analytics and reporting.
The easiest way to avoid these potential downsides is to be selective over who you choose to partner with.
How Can My Business Use Channel Marketing
Channel marketing partners can support growth by increasing your reach and adding new revenue streams.
The ideal channel partner is a leader in your industry that is willing to be transparent. They will allow you to use your marketing materials throughout their channel and access campaign reporting.
Access to analytics can help you to determine the effectiveness of campaigns and calculate ROI. It also reduces the risk of inconsistent messaging.
The messaging and content your partners use should be closely aligned with your marketing strategy. You can ensure consistent brand identity and help your partners sell more by providing them with the sales and marketing collateral they need to promote your products.
The best way to maintain control over your digital brand marketing is to provide channel partners with tools to customize your marketing materials. This enables you to maintain brand consistency across the platforms and channels your partners use. It also gives your partners some room to be creative in how they promote your products.
Channel marketing can drive short-term wins and long-term growth. Developing a channel marketing strategy can be challenging. But you can overcome the obstacles and reap the benefits by choosing the right partners.
If you’re interested in leveraging channel marketing to grow faster and gain a competitive advantage, contact Ogno today to see how you can empower your business and your channel partners with a dynamic marketing strategy.