Responsible for a Partner Marketing Budget? 7 Terrible Ways to Spend Your Money
It’s that time of year, a time when partner marketing leaders are trying to define 2018 budgets. In partner marketing this can be a bit tricky as I have learned; however, it’s not impossible to get a close idea of what you might spend next year. This short article shares 7 terrible ways to spend your money in 2018. Enjoy!
7. Self promotion – More and more consumers and corporate buyers turn to online search to learn about their problems and find out what others are doing to solve them. Successful partner marketing campaigns should be designed to educate the buyer and not simply promote or sell a product or service. Over promoting through annoying pop ups at the wrong time simply drive people nuts according to science. While some pop ups and promotions are effective they must be used sparingly and at the right time. One degree of difference can kill conversion and the investment in the campaign you’ve created.
6. Copy cat – As a marketer and university professor, I catch copy cats all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I have found plagiarism in content I have seen over and over. Great marketing is unique and different. A mentor of mine once told me that great marketing fails 30% of the time. However, because companies create rather than copy others they typically come out in front of their industry. I’ve personally seen this to be true in at least 2 SaaS companies I’ve worked with over the last 5 years. A simple example can be seen with the marketing takeaways from Netflix’s content strategy published by the American Marketing Association.
5. Putting all your budget into one basket – Diversification is important in a good partner marketing plan. Putting all your funds into a single demand generation strategy such as webinars is just a bad idea. While webinars are a great tool, connecting them to meaningful content such as ebooks or white papers make them better. Looking at spreading your budget across channels which perform the best would be my recommendation. There is plenty of research suggesting that partner case studies, email campaigns, and mutual customer testimonials are powerful. In addition, recent research in Service Dominant Logic (SDL) conceptually supports the power of customer case studies and testimonials in driving partner sales.
4. Irrelevant and non-engaging content – According to Forrester most B2B marketers struggle to produce engaging content. Engaging content is content which gets the buyer to interact (click or call). While most CMOs feel their marketing department is mature, the reality is that when it comes to content creation, companies are in their infancy. Generating content which is relevantand engaging is key to success in B2B partner marketing.
3. Slapping together a poorly thought out plan – We’re all familiar with the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, “Fail to plan, plan to fail“. A plan which is a simple cut and paste from what worked last year won’t work for the rapid changes facing organizations today. In addition, every partner’s business is different enough to be worth your time in building a thoughtful joint marketing strategy. Quickly slapping together a plan makes my top 3 because the very low probability of driving revenue growth for both partners.
2. Not spending it – One thing I’ve learned about marketing is that it’s got to be spent as a CAPEX investment. While there is plenty of debate on both sides of OPEX and CAPEX when it comes to partner marketing budgets, the easy rule of thumb is spending it matters as long as your strategy drives both present and future value. Spending your marketing dollars strategically to drive thought leadership for your company and it’s brand is a CAPEX investment into the brand’s equity and impacts future valuation. Although I’m not an accountant, I’ve done enough marketing to know the value of having a plan and campaign that goes beyond the current year and then spending the budget assigned wisely. This makes number 2 because allocated budgets not spent can be business suicide.
1. Not measuring ROI – Obviously my number 1 as a marketing professional. Measuring return on investment or in the marketer’s case, return on marketing investment (ROMI) is critical. When it comes to partner marketing, knowing how the marketing development funds are being spent and measuring their impact against revenue isn’t always an easy task. However, good channel partnerships track shared pipelines and sales activities which are driven by collaborative marketing investments. I’ve found success in using PRM systems such as Magentrix to help measure the return of marketing dollars, at least our side of the partnership.
I’m sure there are many other terrible ways to spend your 2018 budget. These are the the ones that came to mind from what I have seen over the last few years. I don’t know about you, but I’ll continue to build and execute my plan. As partners don’t always fulfill their part of the joint plan, I include enough flexibility in my plan to move funds to other areas in which produce future value for the organization. What partner marketing blunders have you thinking, what a doofus CMO?