Total Product Marketing recently participated in the Intelisys Channel Connect 2017. The event brings together experts in the fields of cloud, IT and telecom for 3 days of knowledge sharing and networking.
As a trusted marketing partner of Intelisys, Total Product Marketing was excited to be a part of the exhibition and an expert panel. We had a great time meeting and connecting with partners and suppliers and learned a lot about what the industry is looking forward to and wants to improve on in 2018.
TPM is proud to partner with Intelisys. As the premier master agent in the industry, Intelisys provides outstanding support to the channel’s top producing telecom agents and VARs and has extensive industry knowledge — including a great podcast.
Check out Brian Leonard’s Channel Outlaws podcast — where he speaks with the most interesting and successful partners and individuals in the channel.
Channel Marketing Initiatives for 2018
At our Intelisys Channel Connect 2017 exhibit, TPM conducted a survey asking businesses where they want to focus their marketing efforts in 2018. Some of the results were predictable, and others surprised us. Here are our insights into the survey results.
The most popular marketing initiative for Intelisys Channel Connect 2017 attendees was social media, and it should come as no surprise that channel partners want to focus more heavily on their efforts in this area for 2018. Social media isn’t just for selling to teenagers and is becoming an increasingly large part of the B2B marketing landscape. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can be harnessed to better communicate with potential customers and more industry relevant platforms like Product Hunt or Quora can be very good exposure.
Content (PDFs, Blog Posts etc.)
Your market wants to know what expertise you can bring to them as a customer. You can do this by creating great content that will engage and educate your prospective customers, convincing them that you are the solution to their problems. Without engaging and educational content, the rest of your marketing strategy falls flat, so it’s no surprise that partners want to put more focus in this area. Is it worth the effort? Of course! B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.
The success of all of your content and social media efforts ultimately rely on your website, so it’s important to have a website that’s designed to guide new visitors through to conversion and/or get them into an automated marketing funnel. If your website is outdated or confusing for visitors you may be reluctant to guide prospective customers to it, and that’s a dangerous thing.
Considering how powerful video marketing is, we’re a little surprised more voters at Intelisys Channel Connect 2017 won’t be prioritizing this marketing initiative in 2018. Videos in emails, videos in blog posts, product demo videos, video tutorials… the list goes on. Video is a powerful and underutilized tool.
Companies aren’t getting as excited about paid ads as they did at one point in time, but with the right strategy they can still be very effective. The key is to zero in on the right platform for your advertising and then design a specific and highly relevant value proposition. Vague PPC campaigns are expensive and ineffective.
The low number of votes on this item makes sense. Hopefully most, if not all, organizations already have some sort of SEO strategy happening. But we wondered whether they aware of the changes search engines are making to their ranking algorithms. The good news is that most of the changes are geared towards helping people find the content they want the most, so creating content for visitors is creating content for search engines.
The low number of votes on this item is logical, being that pretty much everyone is doing some kind of email newsletter, but how effective is email these days? When email IS the campaign it lacks effectiveness, but when used strategically in an automated marketing campaign it can be very helpful. So keep doing emails, but don’t let them hang out there on their own.
Public Relations received just one vote on our survey at Intelisys Channel Connect 2017. We wonder if this is because organizations have already got this part of their strategy figured out, or if they are having a hard time seeing its relevance.
Read our series of posts on public relations to see why it’s still important and how you can implement it:
- Why Is A PR Strategy Important for MSPs?
- PR 101: Recommended Media Coverage and How to Access It
- 14 PR Tools to Boost Your Campaign
Marketing Tips for Intelisys Channel Connect 2017 Attendees
In addition to conducting our survey and speaking at a valuable panel session, we connected with many of the attendees at Intelisys Channel Connect 2017. In light of the conversations we had, we want to share two key marketing tips for channel partners.
1. Get Creative with Disruptive Marketing
Partner channels can often be saturated with other service providers, making it difficult for providers to stand out in the crowd. Your prospective customers need to understand that what you do is different from what your competitors are doing.
One way to gain your prospects’ attention is through disruptive marketing. Consider the following:
- Do you do something special that prospective customers should know about?
- Can you use fun/interesting metaphors?
- Can you latch on to a popular trend in business or pop culture?
As an example, TPM recently assisted in creating a campaign for Crystal Technologies that likened bringing all of your network service providers together with the seven kingdoms in Game of Thrones coming together under the King of the North.
Through the combination of a physical mail out, giveaway and digital marketing, the campaign was a great success that led to 13 client meetings (out of a frigid cold list of 233). An amazing 5.6% conversion rate to target that had never even heard of Crystal Technologies prior to the campaign.
(By the way, in marketing circles, if we get a 0.5% to 1% conversion rate for B2B campaigns, we consider that a success!)
Capitalizing current pop culture, and doing something different, helped Crystal Technologies to stand out among the advertising noise to attract the attention of prospects, while still addressing the problems prospective customers might be experiencing.
2. Focus on Consistent Messaging and Branding
In addition to disruptive marketing, to truly stand out from the masses channel partners need a highly optimized, unique brand and message that is at the center of your business.
This messaging not only needs to be communicated in all points of contact with customers and prospects, but is something that everybody in the company must live and breathe every day. It must be consistent across the entire organization — from Management and Operations to Sales and Support — so that everybody understands the strengths of the business and how to bring about success.
At TPM, we help our clients achieve this through the “XYZABC Messaging Formula” where:
- [Company name] provides X
- For Y segment(s),
- That enables Z measurable benefit(s)
- And, unlike A competitor(s),
- B is our differentiator(s)
- And we prove it through C.
Messaging should not only address a specific need that your prospective customers are experiencing, it must clearly articulate your unique value proposition and be communicated throughout all your marketing materials, website and communications.
Getting Excited for the Next Channel Connect
TPM had a great time at Intelisys Channel Connect 2017 and are proud to be working with such a switched on, engaged community of professionals, as well as with Intelisys.
After so many valuable conversations with partners and suppliers alike, we can’t wait for the next Channel Connect — where we look forward to more conversations and discovering which marketing initiatives the channel followed through on.
In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss the marketing initiatives I’ve outlined or how your business can benefit from disruptive marketing and XYZABC Messaging, contact us today.
And, don’t forget to check out Brian Leonard’s Channel Outlaws podcast.