For brands with channel marketing programs, selecting the right partner to support their efforts is critically important. With the combination of technology and services needed to support today’s channel marketing initiatives, brands invest significant time and money to launch or move a program to a new provider. That’s why it’s critical to consider what a provider brings to the table in terms of strategy, the ability to scale and evolve a program, and the services provided during the vetting and selection process of a channel partner.
As data-driven insights continue to become more prevalent to informing channel program strategy, brands need to consider partners that have access to these critically important data points and, more importantly, use them to inform channel program strategy. To that end, brands should seek a partner that ensures their channel program is driven by strategy from the beginning of a relationship and has tools and processes in place to inform long-term strategy.
To help ensure a consistent capturing of strategic initiatives, brands should look to partners that leverage an established process for this effort. Channel Fusion uses its proprietary Outcomes Blueprint to guide strategy development. This multi-faceted process utilizes various inputs related to a client’s program, competitive landscape and data analysis to create a framework that informs an actionable account plan.
By leveraging the Outcomes Blueprint to inform a client’s account plan, Channel Fusion can provide a repeatable process for developing annual channel program plans, as well as a cadence for measuring and reporting outcomes. For Channel Fusion, that cadence, at a minimum, is quarterly business reviews (QBRs). At a QBR, plan key performance indicators are reviewed and adjusted as needed, to ensure desired outcomes are being achieved throughout the course of the year.
The ability to scale and evolve a channel program is critical. Market and channel conditions change at a rapid pace, so brands should look for a partner who can adjust, expand or add new program elements on the fly. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. While a brand may be looking for a partner to manage their co-op program initially, for example, it’s important to know if they have the depth and breadth of capabilities to add program elements as needed to support program objectives.
For Channel Fusion, a connected platform of technology solutions allows brands to efficiently expand their channel programs. For example, if a brand is using the Channel Fusion co-op program module and wants to add an online store for channel partners to use co-op funds to purchase point-of-sale materials, this can be done in a timely and connected manner in terms of linking backend technologies to ensure all systems are talking to each other, so to speak, and maintaining overall program integrity from a funds management and reporting perspective.
In terms of channel program scaling, brands should also look for partners that have a vision and defined roadmap for the evolution and expansion of their offerings. That said, nearly every brand is looking for technologies that can be tailored to the specific needs and desired outcomes of their channel program. Brands should look for partners that offer a unique combination of defined platform solutions that can be configured.
While working with a partner who has the technical capabilities to support the scaling of a channel program is important, it’s also important to provide brands with corresponding and integrated support services to drive program success and outcomes. This applies to all aspects of a program.
Look for a channel program partner that has a dedicated team of support specialists that become an extension of the brand, serving as trusted advisors for channel partners and stewards of the brand itself. For example, having a support team that has an intimate understanding and knowledge of a program’s guidelines helps ensure brand integrity while providing trusted guidance to channel partners to maximize program adoption and utilization, while driving return on investment outcomes.
Like any relationship, choosing a channel program partner is a commitment. When selecting a partner, a brand should consider multiple dimensions, including strategic value, a firm’s ability to scale a channel program, as well as the services that will support the delivery of desired outcomes.
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.