Over the past several years, inbound channel marketing has grown to be one of the most influential approaches to modern marketing. Inbound marketing addresses a number of key challenges in marketing today, most notably the need to engage with customers in a more productive and sustainable way. ? Although inbound marketing has been growing by leaps ands bounds among both B2B and B2C businesses, it hasn’t yet taken hold in the channel, largely due to the challenges of scaling quality content for a distributed network of partners. Bits and pieces of inbound marketing have been adapted for the channel, such as social media syndication and content curation, but it’s high time for a true? Inbound Channel Marketing solution.
If you’re not familiar with inbound marketing, it refers to marketing activities focused on attracting customers with timely and relevant content they want, rather than hounding customers with emails, phone calls or other types of outbound marketing tactics they want to block.? Analysts such as IDG report that inbound marketing can deliver as much as 30% growth in new business leads and more than a 50% reduction in cost per lead. But the? potential benefits of Inbound Channel Marketing for? companies with large partner networks is much greater.?
How Can Inbound Change the Channel?
Channel managers today are facing some of the most significant strategic risks to revenue in a generation, due largely to increasing competition for effective partners and the disruption of traditional partner business models as enterprise technology migrates to the cloud. Channel managers need creative new ways to engage partners, and to help partners engage their own customers, with effective marketing programs that deliver qualified leads, and performance metrics that spotlight partners with the capability to drive real revenue growth. These are challenges that play directly to the strengths of inbound marketing, when it’s scaled effectively for the channel.?
Most channel managers are doubling down on old outbound programs, hoping that focused attention on fewer partners will increase output. The problem is, all their competitors are? doing the same thing.
Currently, most channel marketing organizations are stuck. They’re driving 80% of their channel revenue from only 20% of their active partners, while the remaining 80% of partners churn and burn poorly managed programs that no one believes in. Under pressure to improve performance, most channel managers are doubling down on old outbound programs focused on even fewer elite partners, splashing around more incentives and hoping that focused attention on fewer partners will increase output. The problem is, all of their? competitors are reading from the same playbook, creating? an arms race of discounts and incentives, and? increasing the risk for each vendor that stands to lose the battle over a key partner.?
Channel managers need a better way to diversify their revenue risk by engaging all of their partners more effectively, and to leverage new programs that help identify partners at every level that can drive new market growth. They need a channel marketing program that not only attracts and motivates partners, but provides clear visibility into partner performance–in real time rather than trailing quarterly numbers—so they can make smarter investment decisions with their MDF dollars.
Introducing Inbound Channel Marketing
Inbound Channel Marketing (ICM) is a strategic marketing framework that scales inbound marketing for the channel. ICM brings together content marketing, lead generation and social selling in a cloud-based system that helps channel managers modernize, organize and streamline their channel marketing efforts. By streamlining the process of creating and syndicating high-quality content, ICM makes it easier for partners to build their brands while generating Marketing Qualified Leads.
Over the next few weeks, SocialRep will be announcing the first Inbound Channel Marketing platform, including technology, methodologies and a comprehensive framework to help businesses plan, launch and manage their own inbound marketing program for partners. For channel marketing executives, we’ll be making available a comprehensive Executive Guide to Inbound Channel Marketing, with detailed information on everything from the business case for ICM to tactical initiatives to drive partner adoption. We’ll be rolling out a complete ICM Technology Roadmap, Implementation Checklists, and case studies detailing best practices and ROI.
If you’re a channel marketing specialist, follow us on LinkedIn and we’ll make resources available to you. If you have your own insights or experiences on inbound marketing for the channel, ? we’d love to hear them. And if you know a particularly visionary channel chief trying to find a new way to engage and motivate partners, please send them our way. We have a platform and a program ready to roll, and we’re looking for our own great partners to build a more successful channel.