Ep. 20 – Angela Leech: Top 10 Channel Marketing Don’ts

Angela Leech is the Senior Director of Research at Sirius Decisions and has over two decades working in and on channel partner and global partner programs.  Before joining SiriusDecisions, Angela worked at Adobe, where she managed the EMEA partner program and the channel marketing plan that was designed to support more than 36,000 partners for the region. She is well-versed in both the challenges and opportunities that the ever-shifting digital landscape is presenting to brands.  Her expansive perspective has shown her some great practices in channel marketing, but in this episode, Angela and Steven focus on the top ten mistakes people should avoid in their partner programs along with some practical, tactical advice to help folks do better.

Spoiler alert: to get all of the top ten “don’ts” you’re going to need to listen to the entire episode either by using the player at the bottom of this article or by subscribing on iTunes or your favourite platform.  Anyway, on with the show:

The Field of Dreams Myth, Re-re-revisited

This issue continues to be a pervasive one in channel marketing, and it’s that pervasiveness that makes it a bit of a pet peeve for Steven Kellam, placing it squarely at number ten on our list.  This issue is this: “if you build it, they will come” is terrible advice for people engaged in channel marketing, through partner marketing, channel partner enablement or perhaps any endeavour short of building a ball diamond in a cornfield under the direction of a mystical voice.

The power of channel marketing programs or indeed, any other marketing programs is their power to drive new and desirable behaviours in people and this is just not possible if people are not aware that the program exists.

Fortunately, Angela has a remedy: “All of these programs need continuous awareness; you have to drive partner engagement across the board.  You can’t just launch these things as a one-and-done experience.”  She also adds that brands need to consider how easy it is for partners to engage with their programs and/or portals.  Do they need training to help them understand how the program works, especially around how they get paid? Is that training available?

Angela’s helpful summary: “Suppliers need to look at launching these programs the same way they look at launching a new product,” making sure there is a multi-touch campaign in place to onboard, engage and retain as many partners as possible.

Stacking and Complexity

Incentive stacking is a necessary evil for many of us, especially when we are looking to drive the behaviours associated with the bundling of products or services.  The trouble arises when program rules for qualification of stacked incentives become so complicated that partners are no longer clear on how the programs work or what rewards they may qualify for.  In fact, program complexity may cause partners to fall away and engage with another brand’s programs merely because they have a much better understanding of what they need to do to succeed.

“Keep it simple, keep it direct and focus on those behaviours you want to drive, not on having the largest number of incentives because that’s what your competition does,” says Angela.

Technology Enables Your Channel Marketing

This is another issue that has appeared and re-appeared in the course of us recording twenty episodes of this podcast so far.  Technology is a tool and a marvellous enabler.  It is not a strategy, and it sure isn’t a substitute for a proper process.

“Technology is a delivery method,” says Angela.  “It relies on established processes.  It isn’t going to define your overall incentive strategy.”  Process and execution have to come first.

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION NOW:

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