Techaisle, a data-driven global SMB IT market research and industry analyst organization, recently released the report “2023 Channel Partner Trends”, which detailed the top ten channel partner business issues and digital marketing priorities this year.

Source: 2023 Channel Partner Top 10 Business Issues Digital Marketing Priorities Infographic, Techaisle

According to the report, the primary business issues channel partners face include:

  1. Managing Uncertainty
  2. Driving Growth
  3. Improving Speed to Market
  4. Focusing on New Markets
  5. Improving the Effectiveness of Sales and Marketing
  6. Reducing Customer Churn
  7. Attracting and Retaining Employees
  8. Improving Profitability per Customer
  9. Keeping Pace with the Competition
  10.  Increasing No. of Offerings per Customer (Cross-Sell/Upsell)

The leading digital marketing priorities for channel partners include the following:

  1. Social Media (with 70 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)
  2. Email Marketing (with 68 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)
  3. Vendor Partner Referrals (with 60 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)
  4. SEO Implementation (with 56 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)
  5. Analytics (with 52 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)
  6. White Papers/Thought Leadership (with 40 percent of respondents identifying it as a priority)

Suppliers can help address partner issues and marketing priorities via through-channel marketing (TCM) and through-channel marketing automation (TCMA)

What is Through-Channel Marketing?

Through-channel marketing (TCM) is a B2B marketing strategy suppliers use to promote their products and services through their partner ecosystem to reach end-user customers. TCM requires vendors to enable their ecosystem partners to communicate with prospects through various marketing tactics.

Through-channel marketing activities include:

  • Flyers and data sheets
  • Battlecards
  • Blogs
  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Events
  • Digital campaigns
  • Social campaigns

What is Through-Channel Marketing Automation?

Through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) applies standard marketing automation to through-channel marketing, specifically for vendors to provide their partners with materials to market their products and solutions. TCMA allows partners to compete in digital marketing without becoming experts in marketing strategies, tactics and platforms.

TCMA offers partner ecosystems various ways to streamline channel marketing efforts, including:

  • Accelerating go-to-market for new product launches, service promos or other offerings by scaling instantaneously across a supplier’s partner ecosystem
  • Automating distribution of sales enablement content to ecosystem partners quickly and efficiently
  • Scheduling of automated emails and tracking performance so vendors can prove communication with their ecosystem
  • Triggering sales enablement emails based on engagement activity (e.g., form-fills) to walk partners through a vendor’s sales process
  • Sending surveys to get ecosystem partner feedback on product knowledge and areas to improve marketing enablement
  • Removing as many manual hand-offs of assets between supplier and partner personnel as possible
  • Gaining the confidence of key partners who now have a much shorter time to revenue due to automation

The ”automation” part of TCMA is enabled through a SaaS-based TCMA platform like a partner relationship management (PRM) system. A TCMA platform allows partner marketing activities to be scaled across large partner ecosystems with hundreds or thousands of partners.

If you’re considering getting started with TCMA platforms, you should know there’s never been a better time to do so. Think about this: automation enables efficiency. The more efficient your channel program’s processes are, the more likely you are to see a return on investment in it. You can do more with less. Let the power of TCMA achieve better results and pay for itself.

What are the Key Features of a Through-Channel Marketing Automation Platform?

Interested in a TCMA platform but not sure where to start? High-quality TCMA platforms come with the following:

  • Streamlined workflows for ease-of-use
  • Group and user management
  • Digital branding software, including branding of video content
  • Social media syndication
  • Email campaign creation and automation
  • Portal page creation
  • Partner microsite creation
  • A library of brand-compliant and customizable marketing assets
  • The option to get translated marketing assets for different regions around the globe
  • An efficient portal from which marketing programs can be launched, tracked and measured
  • Robust analytics for suppliers to track and measure performance, MDF and BDF usage
  • The ability to quickly operationalize asset delivery
  • Simplified viewing for partners to track and spend MDF

Channel Partner Digital Marketing Priorities Addressed by Through-Channel Marketing Automation Platforms

A TMCA platform can effectively address four of the six digital marketing priorities for channel partners in 2023 identified by Techaisle, including:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • White Papers
  • Analytics

Suppliers can create these customized, messaging-compliant and brandable materials for their partner ecosystem. Let’s walk through some examples viewable within the ZiftONE platform. 

Through-Partner Email Campaign Example:

Providers can customize email campaigns based on partners and partner types. Then they can package campaigns for their entire partner ecosystem without adding to their team’s workload.

Partners can send campaigns directly to customers, reflecting their own brand while promoting vendor products. An API automatically connects with email automation platforms and provides copy-and-paste HTML for partners that send emails through other services.

Customizable Collateral Library Example:

A TCMA platform provides a brandable asset library that allows vendors to apply partners’ branding to content easily, use text blocks to plug in partners’ information and put relevant content in partners’ hands fast, including the white paper and thought leadership collateral they’re looking for. 

Analytics Example:

A robust TCMA platform enables suppliers to:

  • Keep track of lead registrations and attribution
  • Which campaigns and collateral are being deployed and are successful
  • Partner activity

Deploy a TCMA platform for your partner ecosystem and you’ll be on the path to meeting partners’ leading digital marketing needs in 2023.