Partner Marketing & Marketing Automation

Some background

Over the past 12 months I’ve had to build a number of joint campaigns with our various business partners at work. I’m at a point now where I have a range of templates in place to help speed the process along. I wanted to share a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to help make the process easier and where possible, faster.

Most marketers are clear about their own branding, but when you add the needs of a business partner it generally means the need to produce a hybrid design that has the ability to stand alone, but potentially still have glimpses of both brands. If you’re dealing with more than one business partner, that potentially becomes more complex, but still not insurmountable.

Let's start with the message

My experience has primarily been in the B2B space and the focus of content I’ve prepared is generally in the problem based marketing school of thought.

That means producing content that when read or viewed makes the reader relate to the business problem being explored. They should be saying to themselves “That’s me! I have that problem.” Over time, various interactions with the brand should help the reader see that your organisation has the ability to solve the business problems they have.

Preparing the message with your business partner

I use Google Docs to start crafting my message. I share the document with my business partner so they can contribute to the development of the content. One tip I have here, is don’t share it too early. Get the nuts and bolts down and provide an overview of what you’re trying to achieve with each specific message.

In other words, provide some “framing” – some context to the message. Some older marketers may believe the content should be product or service specific. This may work in a B2C environment, but generally is ineffective in the B2B world.

Using Google Docs allows me to avoid the debacle that happens when documents are shared via email, you end up with too many versions, you’re never sure you’re working from the most current version and edits and contributions from partners can be lost. 

Introducing Marketing Automation

I use Oracle Marketing Cloud B2B (Eloqua) at work and it helps me achieve a range of functions. Here’s just some of them:

A unique lead registration landing page

We use the Oracle Marketing Cloud B2B PURL (personalised URL) function which gives each salesperson their own unique lead registration page. They arrive at the landing page and their details automatically pre-populate saving them time, all they have to do is add the contact details of their lead/contact.

If you have your CRM integrated with Oracle Marketing Cloud, this process can be automated from within the CRM. 

Personlised emails

One of the key functions I use all the time is being able to have emails from the campaign arrive in a contact’s inbox “from” the salesperson who owns the relationship. This also includes the reply-to address being the salesperson’s email address, so should the contact want to engage directly with the salesperson, they can do so.

Reporting

I’m able to produce specific campaign reports and have these automatically sent to our partners in Excel, PDF or HTML. This removes the need for constant calls etc and ensures the partner is up to date.

Asset templates i.e. emails and landing pages

Without any need for HTML, I create email and landing page templates to help ensure there’s a common look and feel across all assets. I’m able to embed links to joint resources across all assets and then provide specific reporting on exactly what has been clicked on and by whom.

Ownership of leads and new contacts

One key aspect is ensuring that as these joint campaign members submit forms and interact with our instance of Oracle Marketing Cloud, we don’t want them to fall into our own campaigns. To avoid this, we automatically unsubscribe all leads submitted from our own campaigns. This ensures they will only ever receive comms from our “Joint Campaigns” which is their only subscription. 

A tip to keep the sales teams engaged

The nature of marketing automation and personalisation is that recipients genuinely believe the email has come from the person who “appears” to have sent it. This happens to me all the time with my own customers. I’ll be having a chat with a customer and they reference the email they got last week from our Managing Director. He didn’t send it, I did – and in most cases I wrote it lol. And these are my customers using marketing automation. It makes me smile.

Whenever we run a joint campaign, I always encourage the partner’s sales team to log themselves as  lead. This was they get the emails, delivered over time and can familiarise themselves with the content. It’s very likely that in their communication with their contacts, people will reference one of the emails and the content. Smart salespeople want to be “in-the-know”.