As a B2B agency, we often work with clients who sell through distribution channels. Which means we’re experts at reaching that audience of dealers and distributors. In fact, we have associates exclusively dedicated to running channel marketing programs designed to engage and support those distribution channels on a client’s behalf.
The Undercurrent team sat down with two of our associates, John Klehn, senior account director, and Kelly Field, account executive, who manage a large channel marketing program. We wanted to share how these programs work and why they’re valuable.
Why would a brand consider investing in channel marketing?
John: Many brands have challenges maintaining a consistent message and level of engagement with their distribution channels. Any brand that sells through an indirect channel can benefit from focusing on that distribution network and communicating, engaging and fostering better relationships with the network. The further away you get from the factory the more diluted the message can become.
We found that for several of our clients, a formalized channel marketing initiative where dealers or distribution partners feel valued and have the appropriate resources to represent the brand well is effective. It doesn’t always need to be a full-fledged co-op program. Sometimes it might be an ongoing communication initiative to arm your distribution channel with the info, sales tools, and resources they need to market the brand.
What do dealers and distributors get out of the programs?
Kelly: We partner with the dealers and distributors to take the marketing load off their shoulders. This allows them to focus on getting out in the field to be brand ambassadors and sell to customers. We give them the tools and marketing tactics they need, as well as teach them how to execute those tactics, to best promote their brand and their business.
What kind of marketing resources do you provide?
Kelly: It depends on the dealer. Some are large enough that they have an internal marketing and communications team and only need messaging and logos for brand compliance. On the other end of the spectrum, we have dealers who don’t have a website or social media platforms and need more input and guidance.
We’ve helped with everything from writing and producing a telephone message for a business’s voicemail to implementing a Facebook ad campaign strategy and creating custom branded vehicle wraps for a dealer’s service trucks.
How does our agency’s approach to channel marketing differ from other agencies?
John: We find that other channel marketing programs have a specific platform or system that they try to fit their customers or clients into. And while we have an approach we believe in, one of the foundational elements of our approach is the ability for the solution to be flexible and customizable to fit the needs of that specific client and distribution network.
Kelly: The dealers get access to an entire team in our agency who can provide the level of marketing service they need. Often agencies will just provide a templated, cookie-cutter program with limited, predetermined marketing tools. The way we run our dealer channel marketing programs at Two Rivers Marketing is different. We listen to the brand and its dealers, we figure out what their needs are, and we tailor marketing strategies and tools to those needs. It doesn’t fit into a box.
Sound like something your brand could benefit from? Check out our other articles on dealer communications. Or, reach out to John to learn more about partnering with us for your dealer/distributor marketing needs.