In the first of an ongoing series, Channel Fusion is pleased to present Five Questions, a Q&A with one of our channel marketing thought leaders. In this issue, Kelly Magers, director of digital marketing and the leader of the Channel Fusion local marketing agency, Digital Fusion, answers five questions about the importance of aligning brand and channel partner marketing activities, what to look for in an agency partner and the key metrics to consider when it comes to delivering channel program outcomes.
1. What's the most important thing for a brand to
consider when developing local marketing solutions for their channel partners?
Obviously, you want your brand front and center in your marketing campaign so that your products are top of mind when the consumer goes to make a purchase. And you know that finding partners at the local level to deliver your message is effective. After all, consumers need to know where to go to buy your incredible products and get them serviced! National campaigns can only get you so far. Pushing consumers through the right doors to buy your products when the consumer is showing the intent to purchase is where a brand truly wins the sale.
The most important thing to your channel partner/dealer is to win the sale amongst other local dealers. They can’t do that unless they stand out from the crowd. So it is essential that your local marketing offering is flexible enough to allow the dealer to differentiate themselves from the other options in town while also associating their brand with your highly sought-after products. And it doesn’t hurt if the co-op marketing process is as hassle-free as possible for a dealer to participate. (Dealers running their small businesses simply don’t have time to jump through hoops.)
From years of experience helping dealers win sales in their local markets, we know that small and medium-sized businesses win the most by being committed to participating and interacting in their local communities. A dealer needs to show that their business is committed to taking good care of friends, neighbors and the community. A dealer who does that not only wins sales, but their business also has longevity in a constantly changing market.
Engaging with and being a part of their community is important to the dealer because they know that’s the best way to be top of mind when their community needs their products and services. That’s why when a brand is building a marketing offering for its dealers, it’s important to bear in mind the importance of building a program with a marketing offering that is flexible and considers a dealer’s goal of engaging with their community while making sure they don’t end up looking like every other dealer in town. They want to stand out from the crowd just like you want to stand out amongst other brands.
Brands that help their dealers stand out with personalized custom content that keeps the local market in mind will sell more products than those that simply offer syndicated content that looks just like everyone else.
2. In turn, what’s the most important thing for a brand’s dealer or distributor to consider when thinking about its marketing program?
Taking advantage of the big brand names you partner with will help you build your brand. Those brands have spent millions getting their image out there and consumers already know them and the quality of their products. Associating your local brand with theirs can only help you.
And when considering which brands to focus on for your business, find the one that helps you stand out. The one who lets you individualize your marketing. The one who understands you are different from all the other dealers.
3. When thinking about their local marketing program, what is the most important consideration for a brand’s dealers or distributors?
Dealers want to work with a service provider who can not only provide a turnkey service but also ensure they don’t end up looking like everyone else. This makes partnering with a provider who knows how to dig in, gets to know a dealer’s business and where they can personalize and focus on a dealer’s goals, as well as pushing the appropriate products for the brand, while still providing easy turnkey service critically important.
Just like brands, dealers also want to know that the investment is paying off for them. When a service provider can prove that it sets the dealer’s mind at ease. Part of a marketing agency’s job is to help the dealer/client determine proof of success.
Finally, the dealer experience needs to be seamless. That includes ways to eliminate steps like submitting claims & paperwork. Making it possible for a dealer to pay for their marketing without ever having to pay out-of-pocket is considered best-in-class service. This gives dealers time back in their day to focus on winning more sales of your products.
4. What should a brand's dealer or distributor look for when selecting a marketing partner to execute their local marketing program?
Dealers are busy trying to run their businesses! They don’t have time to learn the latest marketing techniques or figure out how to run or measure the results themselves. That’s why most dealers want something turnkey that they can sign up and hand over to experts. But before doing that, be sure the marketing agency can show you how they’ll make you stand out from the crowd. Be sure to ask them for a case study of how their services have helped other dealers like drive more sales. Be leery of providers who can’t clearly demonstrate how their impressive campaign KPIs have directly translated to increased sales.
Work with an agency partner who makes your life easier. One who saves you time by taking over your claim submission and can eliminate steps like paying for the services upfront and out-of-pocket. If you can find an agency that can pull payment directly from co-op funds, it’s a game changer.
5. With a myriad of data points available in digital advertising, what are the key measures channel partners should always keep in mind when determining the return on investment of their program?
Most dealers and even most marketing agencies care about campaign KPIs more than anything. Things like engagement rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, open rate, and impressions inform how well a campaign is running. A good starting point is an industry baseline to compare to or an agency’s baseline for similar campaigns or programs. The real proof of what marketers are doing comes from unit sales. It’s imperative to tie unit sales to marketing efforts in order to understand if marketing is truly working. Everything else is just a vanity metric.
Digital Fusion, powered by Channel Fusion, provides turnkey digital marketing services for the dealer networks of brands Channel Fusion represents. The team prides itself on pushing the envelope to constantly improve and prove the ROI tied to local marketing efforts, while helping dealers and brands tie their marketing efforts to sales.
Check out the case study below to see how Digital Fusion helped deliver double-digit sales growth. For a refreshing experience with a digital partner who is relentlessly focused on running truly localized digital campaigns the right way, check them out.
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 can provide their channel partners with an optimal customer experience to drive results. Our core technologies and connected platform 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.