How to Pick the Best Channel Marketing Automation Platform
Companies that count on large networks of local resellers — retailers, agents, dealers, distributors, multi-locations, branches, brokers, employee end users — need marketing automation solutions that are easy to use, built to scale, and achieve measurable results. But how do you pick the best Channel Marketing Automation platform to increase traffic, leads and sales?
Identify Your Channel Marketing Challenges
Before you begin searching for a channel marketing automation solution, the best place to start is to take stock of the challenges your resellers and your internal brand marketing team face:
- Do your resellers struggle to create brand-compliant ads, access co-branded assets and messaging, understand digital marketing, leverage social media, execute paid search campaigns, utilize Co-Op Marketing funds or Market Development Funds, connect the dots between local marketing performance and sales, or all of the above?
- Does your brand team spend too much time in the weeds answering resellers’ questions, offering guidance on brand compliance and local marketing strategies, and managing Co-Op Marketing claims and reimbursements?
- Do you know why some of your resellers are high performers and others are struggling to meet their goals?
Turning to key stakeholders and decision makers for insights on channel marketing challenges will help you create a checklist of what you need in a marketing automation solution. This level of preparation at the beginning of the search process will help you avoid choosing a marketing automation provider that doesn’t have the right technology or depth of experience to meet your company’s needs.
Know Your Budget, Your End Users and Your Target Audiences
Next, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of essential requirements that a marketing technology provider will need to meet. What are your company’s budget requirements for a marketing automation solution? Do you need a marketing technology provider with experience in serving companies whose ultimate target audiences are consumers (B2B2C), or other businesses (B2B2B), or both? There’s a significant difference between marketing to businesses and marketing directly to consumers.
It’s also important to understand the pros and cons of various pricing models, as well as the cost of inaction. What would it cost your company if you don’t choose the right marketing automation solution?
Once you have a clear idea of your company’s needs and requirements, it’s important to weed out the mediocre martech providers and single-point solutions from the leaders in channel marketing automation. You can find third-party validation to help guide your search for the right marketing technology provider. Independent industry experts monitor and evaluate channel marketing automation, and they often use different interchangeable terms to identify the industry: Channel Marketing, Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) and Distributed Marketing. Software review sites with verified customer reviews can also help you zero in on the type of customer experience your company can expect from a martech provider.
Create a Stakeholders’ List of Minimum Requirements
Talking to your internal stakeholders and building consensus about what your company requires from a marketing technology provider will help you find the best channel marketing automation provider for your needs. Here are a few important questions to answer:
- Are you looking for single-point marketing vendors that specialize in only one solution, such as an email marketing platform, or a creative ad agency, or a printer? Or does your company need a more comprehensive solution that spans:
- Ad Building Technology
- Digital Asset Management
- Digital Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Campaign Execution
- Ship-to-Your-Door features for print marketing collateral
- Automated Content Syndication
- Marketing Analytics
- Co-Op Marketing
- Funds Management
- Claims and Reimbursement
- If you’re already facing challenges from cobbling together different single-point solutions, do you need a martech provider that can help you centralize those disparate systems into one solution?
- Do you need a marketing technology partner that’s capable of scaling as your company grows?
- What are your company’s requirements for contracting, legal, and data security? Given the importance of data privacy and security requirements, it’s helpful to determine whether the marketing automation providers you are considering can meet standards, such as GDPR, CCPA, PCI, HIPAA, and SOC2 Type II Compliance.
What to Do Before Buying Channel Marketing Automation Software
Choosing the wrong marketing automation platform can be a costly mistake. More than marketing technology “provider,” what category-leading brands need is a marketing technology “partner” that’s capable of building, customizing and scaling solutions for future growth. Sign up for a product demo to get a better understanding of how the channel marketing automation software will work for your team and your reseller network. Ask about customized pricing, and find out what the discovery process looks like. Leading channel marketing automation providers will welcome your questions and be ready to show you how they can deliver measurable results for your brand and your network of resellers and end users.