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What's in a Channel Marketing Bill of Materials?

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While the Pragmatic Marketing Framework defines roles and responsibilities across the typical functions within a marketing organization, there’s still the question of what specific content and materials are needed to successfully execute campaigns in the modern world.
But what, specifically, is needed for content? The list of items created for one campaign always seems to be different than the one before and the one after. And content for channel partners is often an afterthought.
What we typically end up with are random acts of content.
In a perfect world, we would have a standard Bill of Materials (BOM) that we use as the blueprint for every campaign. A standard BOM would ensure we all start with the same expectations every time we launch a campaign and that the needs of our partners are addressed. We would measure the impact of our content and compare the impact across campaigns.
In the following pages, I’ll give you my take on what I believe is needed as a standard Bill of Materials, focusing specifically on the needs of your Channel Marketing efforts. I’ll start with the to-partner materials that enable your channel and then discuss what’s needed along the Buyer’s Journey of Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

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What's in a Channel Marketing Bill of Materials?

  1. 1. What’s in a Channel Marketing BILL OF MATERIALS?
  2. 2. “It’s time to stop the random acts of content! Using a standard Bill of Materials, you can better leverage resources, improve collaboration, and produce more successful campaigns.” Mike Moore VP, Channel Strategy at Averetek Click to Tweet this quote
  3. 3. Table of Contents Introduction Chapter 1: Campaign Brief Chapter 2: To-Partner Content Chapter 3: Awareness Content Chapter 4: Consideration Content Chapter 5: Decision Content Chapter 6: Non-Standard Bill of Materials Chapter 7: Measurement Conclusion
  4. 4. Introduction While the Pragmatic Marketing Framework defines roles and responsibilities across the typical functions within a marketing organization, there’s still the question of what specific content and materials are needed to successfully execute campaigns in the modern world. But what, specifically, is needed for content? The list of items created for one campaign always seems to be different than the one before and the one after. And content for channel partners is often an afterthought. What we typically end up with are random acts of content. In a perfect world, we would have a standard Bill of Materials (BOM) that we use as the blueprint for every campaign. A standard BOM would ensure we all start with the same expectations every time we launch a campaign and that the needs of our partners are addressed. We would measure the impact of our content and compare the impact across campaigns. In the following pages, I’ll give you my take on what I believe is needed as a standard Bill of Materials, focusing specifically on the needs of your Channel Marketing efforts. I’ll start with the to-partner materials that enable your channel and then discuss what’s needed along the Buyer’s Journey of Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. I hope this helps. Enjoy! 4 Mike Moore VP, Channel Strategy Averetek MikeM@Averetek.com
  5. 5. Before we begin… All content suggested in this eBook should be produced for use by your channel partners. That means it can’t have an overpowering look, feel, and sound of your brand or voice in the content. • If the content looks too much like the vendor and doesn’t allow for the expression of the partner brand, partners won’t use it. • If the content is written in the vendor’s voice, partners won’t use it. It’s just that simple. So what does content look and sound like when it is produced for your partners rather than you? • The Look • Leave a placeholder for the partner’s logo at the top of the page • Your brand or partner badge should be smaller and if the asset is a landing page, it should be located at the bottom • The color scheme should be neutral or allow for easy customization to match the partners’ color palette • The Voice • Statements and references made in the content should sound like it comes from the partner rather than the vendor. For example, a sentence might begin with “As an Averetek partner, we talk to clients on a daily basis…” and so on. Putting content in the partner’s voice shouldn’t require a lot of work but this nuance can make all the difference in adoption. Finally, please don’t give your channel partners a compressed folder full of Adobe files that they don’t have the software and training to work with. Stick with easy to use and edit formats or give them an easy web-based tool to customize the content. 5
  6. 6. Chapter 1: Campaign Brief A key piece of any campaign BOM is the Campaign Brief that summarizes the campaign and identifies some of the key attributes that will help your internal and external audiences understand where this campaign fits and if it’s right for them. Completing this brief is an important first step in defining your campaign. 6 Campaign Attribute Description / Notes Campaign Name Title that will display to your channel partners. Why use this campaign? Presented to the partner in any place that shows a brief summary of the campaign. Campaign Description A longer description of the campaign purpose, the bill of materials, how best to leverage the campaign elements, etc. Buyer’s Journey Stage Is the campaign designed to address the Awareness, Consideration, or Decision stages of the Buyer’s Journey? Or does the campaign support more than one stage? Target Audiences Helps the partner understand which audiences the campaign is positioned for. Target Vertical Industries Helps the partner understand which vertical industries the campaign is positioned for. Target Market Segments Helps the partner understand which market segments the campaign is positioned for. Target Product or Solution Helps the partner understand which products or solutions this campaign is designed for. Language Language the campaign materials are localized in. Activation date Start date. Expiration date End Date. Geographic restrictions Regions, divisions or countries the campaign is available in. Competency restrictions Partner certifications, competencies or authorization the campaign is available to. Keywords Branded keywords partners can use to find the campaign in search. Download the Campaign Brief in Excel
  7. 7. Chapter 2: To-Partner Content To-partner content is focused largely on answering the questions– “What’s in it for me, and why should I care?” in the context of your partners. Partners care most about campaigns that lead them to building pipeline. But to get to pipeline, we first need to build Awareness. Partners will likely need a great deal of coaching on the execution of Awareness-building campaigns as well as Consideration campaigns that lead directly to pipeline. You must also explain how your partners can win against the competition as they represent your product in the market. The following content is recommended to support your to-partner efforts: 7 Content Description Partner Value Proposition Presentation A concise presentation that explains how this campaign will help your partners make money. If the campaign doesn’t lead directly to making money, you should explain how this campaign leads to another campaign that helps them make money. Campaign Guide / Playbook A document that explains how to use the campaign for its intended purpose. Campaign Training A training presentation (live or recorded) that delivers the partner value proposition and tells the story of the campaign guide. Battlecard / Competitive Guide A document, usually 1-2 pages, that helps your partners understand how to win against the competition. Frequently Asked Questions A question and answer guide that attempts to address the most common questions your partners are likely to have about the campaign. Download list in Excel
  8. 8. Chapter 3: Awareness Content Just as you must build Awareness for your company, so must your channel partners. Too often content for channel partners is product-focused, which aligns with the Consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey, not the Awareness stage. Content in the Awareness stage should be focused on the pains of the buyers you’re trying to reach. It should not talk about your product or service or your partners’ products or services. The content should talk about what you and your partners have learned through helping companies eliminate their pain. The content should be used to attract and convert strangers into prospects. The following content is recommended to support the Awareness content needs of your channel partners: 8 Content Description Links Videos Videos that educate potential prospects about pains they are experiencing and what you and your partners have learned about solving these pains. How To Infographics Interesting and informative visuals that talk to buyers’ pains using statistics and facts to attract interest. How To EBooks Short-topic writing that speaks to a pain and potential solutions How To Blog Articles Blog articles should focus on one topic and be 400 – 600 words in length. How To Curated Lists “Top 5” or similar lists are popular because they are easy to read and drive higher click-rates. Tips Copy Blocks Partners use blocks of text from you and combine them with their own original writing to produce new content. Tips Web Content Web content that drives interest and good search ranking for target keywords. Tips Social Media Copy Blocks Partners are busy, but if you give them blurbs to use on their social networks they’ll use it. Tips Keywords Search optimization is built largely around driving for ranking with specific keywords. Provide keywords to help your partners focus. How To Download list in Excel
  9. 9. Chapter 4: Consideration Content As your partners have built Awareness for you and your partners with the content offered in the previous stage, it’s time to move on to the Consideration stage where your partners will propose a solution to the prospects they’ve attracted. The solution messaging will likely involve your products, services, or solutions and the value-added products, services, or solutions of your channel partners. The following content is recommended to support the Consideration content needs of your channel partners: 9 Content Description Links Infographics Interesting and informative visuals that speak to how you solve buyers’ pains using statistics and facts to shift their buying stage from Awareness to Consideration. How To EBooks Short-topic writing that speaks to a pain and how you solve this pain with your product. How To Playbooks A more creative take on an eBook, a playbook uses a sports metaphor to guide prospects through the solution they’re evaluating. Example Guides Another eBook variation that moves prospects along a path that leads to your solution. Example Landing page A page with a form designed to capture visitor information, usually related to an offer. How To Email templates Ready-to-send email copy and layout, usually to drive to the aforementioned landing page. Tips Quizzes and Widgets A quiz or other interactive widget for the partner to use on their site, designed to drive engagement. How To Newsletters Content fragments that your partners can insert into their to-prospect newsletters. How To Trial Products A trial version (try before you buy) that prospects can use to become familiar with your product. Example Download list in Excel
  10. 10. 10 Content Description Links Webinars A solution-oriented presentation with a strong call to action designed for web delivery along with associated registration/landing page and email assets (registration confirmation, thank you for coming, sorry we missed you). How To In-Person Events A solution-oriented presentation with a strong call to action designed for in-person delivery along with associated registration/landing page and email assets (registration confirmation, thank you for coming, sorry we missed you). Tips Demo Videos A demo video can be used to showcase the benefits of your product, both on the web and at events. Example Demo Script and Content A script and any demo content needed to deliver a professional demonstration of your product. How To Whitepapers Longer than an eBook, a typical whitepaper goes into great detail about a specific problem, the solution, and the steps to implement the solution, all from a customer’s point of view. How To Web Content Web content about your solution that the partner can use in their product or solution showcase of their website. You may choose to deliver this through a content syndication engine. Tips Keywords Keywords for this stage should be aligned with the shopping behavior prospects exhibit in their journey. Tips Copy Blocks Partners can use blocks of text in their own writing, often combined with their own original writing. Tips Interactive Demos Demo content that partners put on their website that prospects interact with. Tool Analyst Reports An analyst report can offer validation of your proposed solution. Tips Data Sheets Product information intended to explain the details of your product to prospects. How To Product Configurator Usually a web or Microsoft Excel-based tool to help prospects explore the options available for your product. Tips Proposal Template Giving partners guidance on the essential elements for a customer proposal. Tips Download list in Excel
  11. 11. Chapter 5: Decision Content Content supporting the Decision stage of the buyer’s journey should focus on moving a prospect from a shopping mentality to a purchasing mentality. The content should reassure the prospect that they are making the right Decision by buying your product from your partner. The following content is recommended to support the Decision content needs of your channel partners: 11 Content Description Links Trend Reports Reports that validate your solution from a market perspective. Example Press Releases A vendor or 3rd party press release that validates the solution proposed to the prospect. Tips In-Person Events A Decision-oriented presentation with a strong call to action designed for in-person delivery along with associated registration/landing page and email assets (registration confirmation, thank you for coming, sorry we missed you). This event is usually smaller and more intimate in this stage of the buyer's journey. Tips Buying Guide Focused on the benefits and options that adopters of your solution will need to choose. Example Case Studies A story of success that another customer has achieved. How To Customer Testimonials Usually a video or live reference to help convince a prospect to become a customer, peer to peer. How To ROI Calculators A tool used to help substantiate the financial benefits of the proposed solution. Example Pricing Guides Describes the pricing model for your solution. How To Sales Offers Discounts and promotions designed to change buyer behavior – to buy now, to buy more, etc. Tips Channel Incentives Rebates or other incentives to motivate your channel partners. Tips Download list in Excel
  12. 12. Chapter 6: Non-Standard Bill of Materials The content items recommended in the previous chapters are what we consider to be a standard channel marketing bill of materials. You may refine the list to meet the needs of your channel partners and that revised list would then become your standard BOM. You should consider what a non-standard bill of materials might look like, if needed, for your channel partners: • Mini-BOM or BOM-lite • You might choose a reduced BOM for initiatives where a full campaign BOM isn’t needed. For example, in the world of software, many companies do major and minor updates to existing products. For a minor product update, you only produce a mini-BOM. The mini- BOM would likely contain a few key pieces of Consideration stage content that describes the new features and benefits. • Expanded or Super BOM • An expanded BOM might be used when you’re gearing up for a special campaign that has needs that are greater than your traditional campaigns. For example, you may choose to create an expanded BOM if you’re planning a long-running campaign where a standard BOM might get stale. By expanding the BOM, you can create multiple versions of some of the assets, or other types of assets, to keep things fresh and current over the extended time period of the campaign. 12
  13. 13. Chapter 6: Measurement As any Bill of Materials is written, there’s always the question about what content your channel partners will actually use and what will go unnoticed. Its important that you plan in advance to have tracking enabled so that you can determine what content your channel partners are using. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics, using a channel marketing automation platform that tracks usage, or even using a URL shortener service like Bitly can provide real-time insights into content utilization. In addition to content cost and utilization metrics, you’ll want to track traditional marketing metrics to understand the impact of your channel marketing programs. We recommend the following Key Performance Indicators: 13 Content Downloads Landing Pages Created Emails Sent Events Hosted Training Presentations Played Traffic / Page Views / Time On Site Opens / Clicks-Through Qualified / Accepted Leads Inquiries/ Database Growth Form Submissions Opportunities Generated Social Reach / Fans / Followers Mentions / Comments / Shares Funnel Conversion Closed Deals Content Development Costs Campaign Execution Costs Return on Marketing Investment
  14. 14. Conclusion Beyond the identification of your standard Bill of Materials and the creation of the actual content, there are many other Considerations that we haven’t addressed in this eBook. Content Delivery: You may choose to deliver all of this content through your partner portal or through a channel marketing automation platform. Execution Support: You can utilize a channel marketing automation platform to support the execution of tactics like landing pages, emails, and events. Or your partners can execute their activities on their own, with advice and guidance from you. We’ll explore both topics in future content from Averetek. Having a standard Bill of Materials that has broad support across contributors, consumers, and stakeholders is an obvious need, yet many organizations don’t have this in place. Hopefully this eBook will help bring your team together, for the betterment of your channel and your overall business. And if you need help creating content, please let me know. We’d love to help. 14 Mike Moore VP, Channel Strategy at Averetek Mike Moore serves as Averetek's Vice President of Channel Strategy. In this capacity, Mike is responsible for the Company's corporate marketing strategy and operations, as well as spearheading strategy and initiatives for Averetek’s growing consulting practice. Mike has spent twenty years in the IT channel as a channel partner and as a channel marketer for software companies.
  15. 15. Free eBook: CHANNEL ENGAGEMENT FRAMEWORK What if your channel execution isn’t as organized as you’d like it to be? In our experience, having a simple channel framework that you can use, internally and externally, helps drive alignment and expectations with all the involved parties. Learn more about our Channel Engagement Framework and how you can use it to create a more structured and metrics-driven channel for your organization. Download the Framework

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