Digital Transformation Is Here: Align with Channel Partners to Develop Brand Advocates

By: ITA Group
Man and woman in channel marketing looking at a tablet device together at work
Industries including healthcare, finance, automotive and manufacturing are all being significantly affected by digital transformation. Organizations are investing heavily and taking advantage of digital advances using mobility, analytics, smart embedded devices and a wide range of other applications. Eighty percent of companies that have undergone digital transformation efforts reported increased profitability, compared to 53% of other companies, according to the SAP Center for Business Insight and Oxford Economics.
CEOs have significantly revised management key performance indicators (KPIs) to drive performance in the digital economy. The increased demand from executives to leverage these technologies means that channel partners need to be ready to capture the expanded opportunities to service their customers.

With more digital and cloud-based demand, channel partners are having to make staffing adjustments, develop different skill sets and find new revenue streams with software and services. When done right, solution providers are able to provide more value to their customers by focusing on solving specific business challenges.

So What’s the Best Way to Support Channel Partners?

First, identify how channel partners are going to market with their services and the industries they’re focused on. How can partners leverage technology to advance their customer’s business? For example: assessment tools that evaluate a client’s existing software and application environment can help with road mapping solutions. Other opportunities can be around leveraging the massive amounts of data being captured to optimize a customer’s business and reduce costs.

Provide case study examples and industry specific applications to reinforce solution benefits and demonstrate ROI.

Provide easy-to-use marketing pieces that channel partners can leverage to promote their services or use during customer planning sessions. Focus on the C-suite audience who are looking to leverage digital technology to differentiate their business and understand total cost of ownership for their investment.

Integrated Approach of Building Loyalty

Develop a long-term plan to engage with partners with a blend of benefits and support that creates a profitable business model for them. This includes training, incentives, deal registration, NFR licenses, market development funds (MFD) and other programs that support your objectives. Leverage a platform that’s able to capture and segment data for program analysis.

Experiential Events Boost Brand Advocacy

Digital communication is evolving—but nothing can replace face-to-face interaction with partners. Sixty-seven percent of B2B marketers think event marketing is their most effective strategy.
Start with defining your event objectives with your audience in mind. What type of experience would you like to create? How will you measure success? Whether it’s attendee tracking, social media or survey results, define what these are during the early planning stages.

Consider experiential events which will have your channel partners eating, sleeping and breathing your brand.

Experiential elements are designed to directly engage your audience while inviting and encouraging them to participate in the evolution of your brand.

A-B-C: Always Be Communicating

Successful communication is also essential pre-, during and post-event. A cross-media approach to spread the word is the best way to impact the greatest number of attendees. Look to include social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram as well as some of the newer platforms. In addition, print and digital media provide a multi-touch approach that helps to strengthen your brand and message.  
Related: Find out how ITA Group planned and executed a strategic event for T-Mobile that exceeded objectives and expectations.
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