MARKETING TIP: Developing Great Channel Partners
One of the key things that many people forget when developing dealership and/or distribution networks for their markets, is that these businesses are their channel PARTNERS. Finding and securing great partnerships in your markets is not about being with the biggest or most successful business in that region. It's about building a sustainable, growing partnership with the people in those businesses, and making both your businesses successful as a result.
If your channel partners are difficult to work with or you are having difficulty finding the right partners in your markets, then here's a few tips to help you out:
• Choose a business that is on a par with your own - either in skill, knowledge, size, people, attitude or experience
• Make sure they have people that you like working with and will enjoy spending time with in future
• Make a list of ideal partners
• Make a list of your expectations and how you will measure these regularly during the partnership
• Ensure you visit your prospective partner AT LEAST once before you begin working together and AT LEAST bi-annually thereafter
Clear communication is absolutely critical and will be the measure of success in any partnership. The more you find out about the people and business you will be dealing with beforehand, the better off you will be. Plus the fact that you are showing an interest in their business will give them more confidence in you too! If you are both clear about each other's strengths and weaknesses then you can work together to help each other out and provide support systems or contingency plans before any problems occur.
But best of all, you will end up building some very strong friendships with people all over the world, as well as a successful international business.
MARKETING TIP: Experiential Marketing
Never heard of it! Well, that's what we told Helen when she included this as one of her key skills and areas of experience when working in the States. It actually sounds very interesting, so we thought she should probably fill you in too.
Experiential what? Experiential Marketing and event marketing are often lumped in the same bag. The goal is the same, to appeal to your existing core audience and a wider peripheral of your target market by providing a memorable experience or connection with your brand.
Event marketing, and good investment of your sponsorship dollars will have the effect of growing your association within your target industries, but experiential marketing will take your association that step further with a memorable and personalized experience relevant to your brand.
Why is it useful? The amount of advertising noise (TV ads, Print ads, banner ads, billboards etc) in front of our consumers is deafening, and becoming more and more ineffective. Studies have been done to show that consumers will engage with your brand if they have had an experience or relationship that links them to you. By appealing to your consumers on an emotional level it is expected that the next time they think of your industries products, they will think of you.
Brand loyalty = referrals = great business
When is it most useful?
When you are attempting to get the attention and support of peripheral markets and retain your core market in a highly competitive industry.
Where is it best applied?
Events, tradeshows, open days and industry expos
To drive demand
Any Manufacturer who wants to retain customers and win new market share
At an event attended by a large cross section of action sports industry consumers, a brand new Toyota Hilux sat suspended over a pool of water. The Toyota was encapsulated by a box, with cutouts at one end. Consumers were encouraged to poke their heads into the holes in the box to see what was on display. On queue, the tyres would spin and send up a spray saturating the viewers, who, on this 40C day were grateful for the experience.
MARKETING TIP: Networking
OK, so maybe some so-called Networking events are not all what they are cracked up to be. But don't let that put you off! Selected correctly and with the right approach, these can be really worthwhile and even fun (!) additions to your marketing programme.
It amuses me how many courses and books there are out there about networking. And I fail to understand how attending these events has become an apparently unique skill which one must learn and study for before reaching any level of competency. So let's clear the matter up here, once and for all, and according to my humble opinion...
Networking should really be called "Getting-to-know-some-really-great-people-in-your-business-community" because that's essentially what it is but unfortunately, that's rather a big mouthful. However, if you are able to attend these events with that understanding then you will probably get a lot more out of it (the networking stuff) and probably enjoy these events a hell of a lot more!
Some people see networking as a necessary evil and something to be avoided as much as possible. However, I have found that the more people you know in your region, your market and your industry, the more success you can have and the more you will enjoy all those essential industry events, trade shows and other business meetings. It is through getting to know others that we can really share ideas and offer support. It's surprising how many people will give you a helping hand once they've met you and understand what you are trying to achieve. This is especially worthwhile when you're stuck in some crazy country, on your own and don't speak the language!
So next time you see a networking event that you know you should attend but haven't done previously, then think again! You might surprise yourself, you might even leave the event smiling and with a few more friends on your side!
MARKETING TIP: "What's In Your Marketing Toolbox?"
One of the key things that we set about defining and collating when we do a Marketing Plan and Programme for clients, is the contents of their Marketing Toolbox. This is the critical resource centre for all your marketing communications and is a key step in the preparations for all your subsequent sales and marketing activities.
The Marketing Toolbox needs to be a list of all the resources required for communicating with all stakeholders in your Circuitboard, such as your target market, dealers, distributors, sales people, etc. This list can be developed by reviewing how you communicate with all your stakeholders, and what items are required to support these communications (i.e. brochures, monthly newsletters, application forms, PowerPoint presentations) and where these communications will be used (i.e. phone, trade shows, meetings, demo days).
Once you have the contents of your Marketing Toolbox listed and defined, it is then important to critically review this as a total communication package. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Is our branding clear and consistent across all communications?
• Are we sending the same message clearly and accurately?
• Are we using the right tone and style for our audience?
• Is the presentation format consistent and relevant?
• Are any items irrelevant or not required?
• Is there anything missing that we need to include?
A great Marketing Toolbox makes it really easy for everyone inside and outside your business to work with you and clearly understand what you do. It means that you will be ready and organized for anything. The coordination of your communication assets will show that you are a professional, high quality, well organized business.
Go forth and conquer!