My friend Nick is, among other things, a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming and an expert on connecting with others.Nick’s best-selling books describe set of behavioral principles that help people to connect more easily with other people and each book lays these principles over a separate but common challenge that many people face. For example, he has a book on how to connect in business, one on how to connect in love and so forth.
One of the most important principles described through all of Nick’s books is that people like people who appear to be like them.”When you say ‘I like you,’ what you are really saying is “I am like you,'” he says.
Part of the essence of marketing is the quest for points of resonance: things that make our target audience feel like our brands understand their needs and that we really “get” them. Using mobile technology to deploy our channel marketing programs presents us with a giant lever to demonstrate to the people in our channel that we understand and honor their needs. And what is the goal of marketing to our channel, after all?We seek to connect and to change the behaviors of our partners and resellers – to give them the tools and incentives to prefer our products over all others when it’s time for them to make a sale.
When that happens, everyone gets what they want.
Here are 4 ways to align your marketing with the needs and behaviors of your channel.
Align With Behaviors
I alluded to this above – “Synchronize with their body language,” advises Boothman when it comes to connecting person-to-person. Let this principle be an overarching one which guides how your craft and roll out your mobile strategy because you are looking to synchronize behaviors by proxy.
Look around you right now. Chances are, somewhere in your field of vision there was a person engrossed in the contents of the screen of their mobile phone.You may even be reading this on yours right now, so you’ll know what I’m getting at: the mobile phone is far from just a work tool in people’s lives, it is how many people spend any down time they have and this includes the people in your channel.
The major objective of deploying your channel programs via mobile is so that you can meet people where they are. Can that retail associate enter their sales SPIFF claim during a coffee break right after they’ve made the sale? Shouldn’t the field sales rep be able to check in on their claim data while waiting in the Starbucks lineup in the morning? People expect these types of conveniences in the mobile age and understanding these behaviors will help you map out an incredible user experience.When people enjoy engaging with your programs, you begin to get more and more of their attention and are well on the way to changing the behaviors you seek to change with your programs.
This principle also informs the other points below along the way.
Imagine a sporting event where the teams didn’t wear a uniform – the observer could be forgiven for having difficulty following the game.
The line between digital and traditional marketing tactics has been eroding for quite a while now and has gotten pretty blurry. Each piece of your marketing now needs to show up clearly identifiable as being part of an integrated whole.
Remember that as you market to your channel, all of your competitors are doing the same. Your audience only has so much attention and focus and if your program’s touch points roll out in an erratic, non-linear fashion, you start to muddy the water. “Is this part of the same program?””Did the last program end already?” “Did I miss the cutoff date?”When you are competing for attention, confusing your audience is going to make you lose.
Mobile provides a perfect platform for delivering training to your re-sellers.You are able to measure if the training content is being consumed, experiment with how you pace delivery on it and even measure effectiveness of different scenarios such as paying a reward for training versus not.
The key is to make the content short and easy to digest.
It keeps getting back to understanding where the device fits into people’s lives.Are they a sales associate in between ups on the sales floor? Is the person a field sales manager waiting for a plane? Remember that you are trying to insert your material into their life and synchronize with their current behaviors.When they have a few minutes down time, many people will start thumbing their phones. If they know that they can improve their selling skills or that they will receive an incentive for taking some training, they are likely to prioritize your content during that down time.
After a while, you will have enough data history with your partners to begin to observe significant trends. Predictive analytics applications that will help you test various promotion scenarios are going to start making this even easier. This is where your strategy will really get into a power band – time to get creative and deploy customized offers but this is also time to refine your segmentation and refine it some more.
Right now as I write this, highly customized channel programs are a luxury. Designing a program that you know is optimized for a particular partner is a great way to differentiate in today’s market, but customization is quickly becoming table stakes and people will tune out quickly when an offer doesn’t resonate with them.
For example, an online retailer who I happen think does a great job of many things can’t seem to get their re-targeting right with me. Last August I looked through their selection of lunch bags for my kids’ back to school needs.I ended up buying three of the same model: one color for each of my boys and a zebra print one for my wife. So why do they keep serving me re-targeting ads and emailing me offers to buy the darn things six months later?
Use your data to learn what has moved the channel in the past, then segment and segment some more. Make sure that your offer is something that is going to engage your target audience and move them into action.
Ideally, your incentive management software gives you the flexibility to offer customized programs that will keep pace with your segmentation because customization is caring, caring is connection and connection drives more sales.
Jason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71, LinkedIn or Google+ 360 is changing the world of incentives. To find out how, book a call with us now!