Twenty years ago when I was a couple of years out of college and dreaming up my first startup, the commercial Internet was just getting off the ground. I worked as a news editor and journalist at a mid-size daily newspaper and had access to the Internet through a Mosaic browser, where I could read the first online newspaper called The Nando Times. All of the market analysis at the time focused on content business models for the web, which is when I first heard the old saw “Content is King”. Twenty years of mind-bending evolution later, we’re still saying the same thing as if learning it for the first time. It’s time to move on.
One of the most common refrains I hear among marketing solution providers in the channel is that any kind of partner marketing initiative must be blindingly simple for partners to execute. If you require partners to do so much as press a button from time to time, that may be too much to ask. God forbid you ask your partners to put some effort into their campaigns. The ideal scenario is for your partner to just open their mouth so your automated message can tumble out.
The Value Proposition, and its close cousin, the Unique Selling Proposition, are two time-honored tools that have been used for ages to help marketers crystallize a message that is relevant to customers. In the age of social media and social selling, they still represent the crucial core of good positioning and messaging. But marketers need some new ways to address the unique challenges of dialog.
Over the seven years we’ve been working with companies to incorporate social media into their marketing mix, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the way companies approach social marketing. Mostly for the better. But one area where we still see companies struggling is in deciding who should speak for the company in social media.
There’s a dangerous undercurrent we see developing among channel marketing organizations trying to deal with the confusing landscape of social media options that can best be called “Checking Off the Social Media Box.” Everyone knows social media is important, but it’s hard to pin down exactly where it adds the most value, so business objectives get over-simplified to reduce the confusion.
Chris Becwar at Channel Management published a post last week that points to one of the central challenges channel marketers face today, a challenge we discuss frequently at SocialRep: how do you enable channel partners to market most effectively?
It’s a seemingly simple question with a time-honored answer: sales incentives! If you provide the right incentives, channel partners will move heaven and earth to close deals. What’s missing from that simple equation is the depth of disruption rocking the global IT channel, reducing the effectiveness of traditional incentive approaches. Continue reading
The Wall Street Journal released an article Monday hyping a Gallup report on the “Myth of Social Media”. The report and the article are so flawed it’s an embarrassment to both organizations. Half of the buzz making the rounds this week manages to find the one kernel of blindingly obvious truth in the article, that social media marketing is about quality of engagement, not likes and follows. But many people are blindly retweeting the link-bait title of Gallup’s report, that the influence of social media is a myth, and it’s Gallup’s report that deserves to be busted. Continue reading
Over the past couple of years, I’ve heard a growing drumbeat of complaints about marketing in the IT channel. I’ve heard it from channel managers, field marketers, partner marketing and sales teams. I’ve heard it phrased a dozen different ways. I’ve heard it applied to email, digital, events and telesales. But the message is always the same: “We’re not getting the traction from marketing programs we’ve always counted on.” Continue reading
For seven years now, we’ve been delivering social media intelligence to some of the world’s largest brands, and we’ve watched marketers struggle with the concept of segmentation in social media. Segmentation is one of the fundamental principals of good marketing–the idea of dividing customers with similar needs and attributes into groups for more targeted marketing. Demographics, psychographics and behavioral economics are all time-tested techniques for segmenting markets in meaningful ways, and marketers have done backflips trying to apply them to social media. Continue reading
Today, SocialRep is launching a new chapter. After years of engineering and product development on social data systems, analytics and curation, we’re bringing all the pieces together in a single platform focused on B2B channel marketing.
As we’ve previewed our solution with analysts over the past few weeks, we’ve heard it called Inbound Channel Marketing, Through-Partner Social Marketing, and Social Channel Marketing. Whatever label you put on it, we’re proud to deliver the first end-to-end platform that enables businesses to empower their partners to engage customers authentically through social media. Continue reading