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Channel Marketing, Co-op Funds, Customer Experience, Return on Investment, SPIFFs/Incentives, Strategy

It’s a Perfect Time for a Channel Program Health Check

It’s the midpoint of 2022 and this is a good time for channel marketers to evaluate whether their programs are delivering desired outcomes for their brands and, in doing so, supporting their channel partner ecosystem of resellers, retailers, dealers and distributors.

 

A recent Gartner survey of chief marketing officers indicates marketing budgets are on the rise in 2022 despite burgeoning macroeconomic headwinds, such as continued supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine and a competitive environment for marketing talent. Gartner’s research also pointed to everchanging customer journeys, or paths to purchase, and how the media mix is correspondingly being impacted.

 

Staying Abreast of the Evolving Customer Journey

As we pointed out in a recent article, acknowledging the evolving nature of customer journeys is critical for channel marketers as they support their channel partners. According to the Gartner research, digital marketing channels still lead the way in supporting the path to purchase, but offline tactics are seeing a renewed utilization leading to a more balanced mix between online and offline channels.

 

With a little more than six months left in the year, Channel marketers should take the opportunity to evaluate the path to purchase for their brands and determine what adjustments should be made to the online and offline tactics they make available to their dealers and distributors to support the current customer journey. In doing so, they should evaluate the need for potential changes and adjustments in terms of their co-op/market development fund program, ad builder asset inventory and incentives to drive engagement and sales, for example.

 

Optimizing Co-op/MDF Programs

With a more balanced mix of online and offline tactics being used to support the path to purchase, channel marketing leaders need to ensure co-op/MDF allocations reinforce the desired strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for the remainder of 2022.

 

For example, if a mid-year customer journey mapping exercise indicates traditional direct mail in combination with geo-targeted digital advertising is how consumers are traversing their path to purchase, then be sure co-op reimbursements or MDF fund allocations are supporting those types of programs. That may mean increasing a reimbursement percentage for a certain type of campaign that utilizes digital and print program elements or providing a one-time allocation of MDF.

 

Ensuring the Right Balance of Assets

Similarly, if the customer journey exercise identifies new assets needed to support the path to purchase, updating your ad builder solution to include the right balance of tools to support your channel partners should be a top priority for the balance of ’22. These assets could be completely new creative or include leveraging and updating an existing piece, for example, that will help drive program utilization and support increased sales.

 

Driving Desired Behaviors and Outcomes

Another opportunity to optimize an updated customer journey and drive desired behaviors and outcomes in the last six months of the year is to provide channel incentives for sales reps or distributors. By motivating the team that can help motivate dealers and distributors, the channel marketing ecosystem becomes aligned and focused on driving a brand’s desired outcomes.

 

Critical to this effort is ensuring the value proposition for all stakeholders is clearly articulated and communicated in a consistent way across multiple channels. This can include targeted email communications, including appropriate content in a scheduled newsletter or sending reps a package that includes tools for motivating their channel partners.

 

As we approach the back half of the year, channel marketers need to ensure they understand the current customer marketing journey and how those consumers are navigating their way to a purchase, while acknowledging that may very well include a balance between online and offline channels. In doing so, aligning or adjusting co-op-MDF programs, ad builder assets and providing appropriate incentives to sales reps and distributors will help channel marketers realize their desired outcomes for 2022.

 

About Channel Fusion

For 20 years, Channel Fusion has been delivering strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.

 

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