Channel marketers may finally have their own industry bible. Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives, is the very first book about the profession, say authors Mike Moore, Averetek’s VP of Strategy, and Peter Thomas, the company’s founder and CEO.
The just-published book, which explores how to engage channel partners, create programs that generate outcomes, develop content, and provide meaningful incentives to channel partners, is already earning high praise from industry experts.
Channel Marketer Report sat down with Moore and Thomas to learn more about Marketing Multiplied and why they wrote it.
CMR — Marketing Multiplied is an interesting title. On the positive side, it sounds like a comment on the exponential value that effective channel marketing programs can generate. On the other hand, it could reflect how challenging channel marketing can be. Is it a little of both?
Mike Moore — We think it’s the first, actually. The channel represents an opportunity for brands to really effectively amplify a message across a broad cross section of companies. That’s why you see a lot of people going to market with a channel – or trying to build a channel — because, quite frankly, that’s going to bring them the most amount of deals in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of cost.
If you compare the alternatives of hiring a direct sales force, paying them, and training them and doing all the things that a channel can do for you, there really is no way to do it efficiently. We think that that’s the opportunity… the power to multiply your brand and your message in the marketplace.
CMR – Do you think brands have been missing out on the opportunities that a more robust channel marketing program could create?
Mike Moore — There are many organizations who really have channel in their DNA. But there are many companies that are looking for growth and a channelized opportunity to grow. But when the rubber hits the road, there are many direct folks – both on the sales and marketing and even executive side of things – who don’t really believe in and entrust the channel.
They need some convincing and we think the book can be useful to help – because there is no resource today that people can hand to an executive and say, “If you really want to understand channel marketing and what the potential is, as well as how best-in- class companies do it, read this.”
That’s where we see Marketing Multiplied being that kind of resource to those people. If they are unconvinced, if they’re skeptical about the channel, if they don’t understand the potential, and how to really grow their voice in the market, we believe that the book will answer that and give them a framework for how best to do that.
CMR — What do you think surprises most people about channel marketing – those new to it and even experienced marketers?
Peter Thomas — We think it’s how hard it is to get and maintain a partner’s attention and to get them to do something “meaningful.” Partners are hearing from a lot of different people, a lot of different brands. You’ve got 20 lines you are carrying all wanting you to spend a couple of minutes of your time doing something.
I think that brands really underestimate how difficult it is to get partners to pay attention to them. To keep that attention in a truly meaningful way, we lay out a series of tactics that we think are just disruptive enough to keep and maintain a partner’s attention for a brand.
When you think about really competitive spaces like a flash storage, for example, you’ve got so many vendors in there, all vying for the same partner’s attention in mindshare. The one that is going to get the most is the one that cuts through the noise.
Mike Moore — Yes, I agree with that. It’s such an attention economy that we all operate in and there are so many other resources that people have access to.
This is really a point of view we take in the book. As channel marketers, what we’re telling people is to treat your channel partners like a marketing audience. That you need to reach out with a message that will educate them, that will inspire them, that will cause them to take action.
Don’t take things for granted. Take that partner audience and treat them like you would your customers and lay a good foundation of information that makes sense to them. Then offer them opportunities to take advantage of whatever benefits you’re laying out.
CMR — As you were writing this book, were there any revelations about channel marketing that surprised you?
Mike Moore — I think the big piece for us was recognizing the significance of making the connection between the modern buyer’s journey and the way we all go to market with to-, with through-, and for-partner marketing, and that those worlds are really disconnected in many ways.
What we believe is the most important discovery is making the connection on how you bring those pieces together and leverage the way you need to participate in this attention economy — working together with the brand to bring out more learning content, more messaging that is going to help people, and then eventually lay out the product and solution messaging that will cause them to buy.
We feel like that was a gap in the market; that there was an opportunity to fill with a framework that gave very specific guidance about how to accomplish that. Everything else comes together underneath that framework but to us that was the most important piece that we felt was missing.
CMR — Real-world guides can get out of date pretty quickly. What are some of the things you’re going to need to address in Marketing Multiplied – Second Edition?
Mike Moore — There are some new things that we’re working on at Averetek that we think will influence the channel. Some of those ideas are around the channel data management side of things and how partners can care and cultivate their own channel marketing data.
I think it’s going to be an important initiative. We’re taking that on as part of our product family and introducing a new set of artificial intelligence-based services to help with improvements around contact data when it comes to reaching out and connecting with customers and also how we work with partner data.
I think that as those ideas prove out, I could see that coming into the next edition of the book. We’re working on an Alexa skill for Averetek that is going to offer daily channel marketing ideas and advice. Again, that’s another idea and concept that we’re piloting that we think could be interesting for channel-based companies as well.
Peter Thomas — As Amazon makes a bigger push into the corporate side, we’re predicting that you’re going to see brands and channel marketers specifically embrace devices like Alexa that can create teaching moments for people. We don’t expect anybody’s going to buy something necessarily through their Alexa device but it’s more about how can you create a learning opportunity for a prospect. Either through a newsflash or a flash briefing or something like that, it gets them to engage with you in just a different way. Perhaps those come into play in the second edition of the book.
Mike Moore — We’ve been really encouraged. It’s kind of funny when you write a book, especially first time authors like Peter and me, and you release it to the market and you get feedback from people. We had some generous folks who helped us as we were working through the drafts, read it and gave feedback.
Now releasing the book, I’m sure that we’re going to get more feedback from people and that’ll certainly shape if there are questions that people felt weren’t answered or they want to share their take on things. I think now that the project is out in the open, we’re going to benefit from hearing from others as well. We’ll welcome that, of course, and we look forward to hearing people’s thoughts and suggestions.