Marketing used to be about one-to-many communication, as with broadcast media, advertising on the radio, TV, or in magazines. It was one-to-millions of people and was good for presenting a consistent messages to lots of people. Then marketing evolved into “narrow-casting,” targeting specific types of markets, job titles, etc. This gave rise to online advertising networks like Federated Media that sell a “slice of the pie” — a specific demographic like “mothers between the age of 18-24.” The draw is the content, the voice of the author (a popular blogger or Website) that appeals to a specific demographic segment. We are now making our way towards the 1:1 marketing model (the Holy Grail of marketing) – which, in fact, is not really about marketing in the traditional sense at all, but more about enabling trusted communication (valued content and the recommendations, wisdom, etc. that goes along with it).
This marketing shift aligns interestingly with evolving channel partner (and vendor) business models and the growth of cloud-based offerings. Understanding a business’ challenges/opportunities and providing the ideas, advice, and ongoing services to help them be more successful is at the forefront. This led me to thinking about how vendors are doing in terms of supporting their partners’ marketing efforts from a thought leadership standpoint. Are the eligible activities in our Co-op and MDF programs reflective of the times? What tools are we making available to them to support trusted communication with customers and prospects? I see a lot of room for improvement here. As far as eligible activities — while we do see seminars/webinars (a good vehicle for valued content sharing), many programs could include more enablement activities, and social media initiatives are still largely excluded. In the second area of tools, there is a large opportunity for vendors to provide content management systems stocked with relevant, useful content that partners can easily package with their own “wrapper” and share out to their networks.
Next step? Do a quick audit. 1) review your MDF/Co-op program’s eligible activities – do they support your partners’ trusted communication needs? 2) What about tools – are you making great content easily available and re-packageable? If not, these are two quick wins and longer-term opportunities to pursue.
Meg Bingley, Senior Consultant with CCI
After getting her start in media with a B2B marketing agency, Meg developed her expertise in marketing by creating, selling, and executing integrated marketing programs for Microsoft, HP, Seibel, Business Objects, Juniper Networks, Trend Micro, Symantec, and their respective marketing agencies for UBM (formerly CMP Media). Her experience with marketing communications for a worldwide manufacturer provides her with the global perspective needed in our channel world. Meg has been with CCI and our clients in the channel for three years, and has successfully managed the launch of several new and existing client sites to support various marketing and sales incentive programs. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son, and small menagerie of cats and dogs.