5 Reasons Why Channel Partnerships Struggle, and How to Fix Them

In a crowded marketplace with proactive competition and a limited set of resources, your most valuable asset is the network of dealers and distributors carrying your products. Through the channel, brands can exponentially increase their reach to customers, but it can be difficult.

From low participation rates to poor reporting to track ROI to the disconnect between dozens of individual local markets and a national brand’s marketing priorities, there are several challenges in the way of a successful campaign. Let’s look at 5 of the most common reasons channel partnerships struggle and the things you can do to address them.

Neglecting the End User’s Relationship with Your Brand

The brand relationship with end-customers is very different from that of the local dealer. There are very few brands that elicit the kind of dedication that supersedes the recommendation of a trusted local business owner.

If someone needs a new air conditioning unit, they are more likely to listen to the technician who visits their house. As a brand, your job is to recognize the value these local touchpoints offer and amplify their reach. Brands that try to overreach or dictate how these interactions occur will struggle.

Forcing Change on Local Dealers

Your channel partners are small business owners who know their local market and customers. They may not fully understand or appreciate modern marketing tactics they can use to reach that market, but they know their business. Overly strict co-op advertising requirements can push many of these businesses away.

Where Does Your Product Fit?

Some dealers sell one or two products and focus all of their marketing efforts on those products. These are ideal partners.

Others offer a range of products and rarely distinguish their marketing campaigns from one another. These are difficult partners to work with because it is almost impossible to measure ROI of campaign traffic when it could just have easily led someone to a competitor product as to your brand’s.

Technology that standardizes marketing materials and provides standalone web content for dealers can help eliminate this problem.

Partners Decide Not to Participate

It can take years to cultivate relationships with a large network of dealers and distributors, so it’s incredibly frustrating if only a small percentage take advantage of your co operative funds.

Sub-50% participation rates can be a sign of issues with claims processing, lack of access to third-party support resources, concern over high administrative costs, or a perceived inability to meet what are seen as strict requirements.

Remove barriers to participation while implementing technology that measures and tracks performance.

Too Much Co-Op Spend is Being Wasted

Your CFO is pushing for a better, more efficient co-op program. Participation rates are an important part of this, but so too is increased transparency.

Partners who run ineffective ad campaigns, share spend across multiple brands, or otherwise waste funds are as much of a concern as those who don’t participate at all.

A platform that can automatically aggregate data from across all campaign activities can help to resolve this issue.

The Next Step in Building a Better Channel Program

You need your channel partners. They are the vanguard for local sales – the boots on the ground that interact with customers and show the benefits of your products.

But for a channel partnership to be successful, it needs to recognize the value of both sides, provide easy-to-use technology that supports dealer and distributor activities, and get rid of as many obstacles as possible.

Our eBook, How to Simplify Channel Partner Marketing and Improve ROI, touches on all of these issues and how they have impeded the success of many channel programs. In it we look at the causes of frustration for both vendors and partners, and what can be done to improve the relationship. Learn more about the impact of a technology platform on co op advertising programs and the next steps in improving your own programs; download the guide below.


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