The co-op program is successful. This statement is ambiguous without specific measurement criteria included. However, when you add further definition, such as, the co-op program will be successful if channel partner utilization is 90 percent, it becomes more tangible and certainly something that can be measured. This simple example illustrates the importance of defining outputs and, more importantly, outcomes that help ensure channel marketing efforts are delivering business results.
Outputs are operational. They are the actions or items that contribute to achieving an outcome. Outcomes, on the other hand, are specific, measurable business objectives. Outcomes should be what a brand defines and measures to determine the success of its channel marketing program.
Make no mistake, both outputs and outcomes are important, but for different reasons. Outputs are important to measure because they indicate if a channel marketing program will achieve its desired outcomes. However, outputs are not a substitute for outcomes. Outcomes are the benefits a customer or channel partner derive from a brand, hence their importance.
Whether it’s a customer or a channel partner, understanding challenges, issues, constraints and priorities, for example, allow brands to define the outcomes to be measured. There are several dimensions to consider when determining how outcomes will be measured, including:
• Value delivered by a brand’s channel marketing program (return on investment)
• Identifying processes that require improvement (efficiency)
• Defining high priority strategies that can make a measurable difference (focus)
• Ensuring stakeholders understand the key goals of each channel marketing program component (clarity)
These dimensions can be applied to outcomes such as fund, brand or co-marketing asset utilization; increase in year over year revenue; reduced costs; process improvements or efficiencies; or increase in advertising return on investment and conversion.
Four Steps to Successful Outcomes
Successfully measuring a channel marketing program’s outcomes starts with these four steps:
1. Define specific, measurable goals for various activities or initiatives to determine desired outcomes
2. Track project progress against your defined outcomes by measuring and communicating data that is associated with individual activities or initiatives and sharing those updates with team members and partners so they can clearly see and understand progress
3. Build momentum, engagement and adoption among internal stakeholders and segmented groups of channel partners by clearly defining and articulating the value proposition and benefits of measuring outcomes on a regular basis
4. Stay connected to program elements and track data to understand channel trends over time and opportunities to optimize or pivot, as necessary
By measuring outcomes that are based on defined outputs, brands can deliver powerful channel marketing program results. To do so requires clearly defining measurement criteria for each channel marketing program component and ensuring a relentless focus on monitoring and reporting progress, while ensuring all stakeholders are engaged and aligned in the process.
About Channel Fusion
For nearly 20 years, Channel Fusion has provided 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 provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms 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.