A fun fact we like to throw around here a lot at Inflowing is that all of team, at some point, have worked within or on projects with technology resellers. That’s why we get on with them so well, and that’s why we like to work on projects and partnerships. ‘Cause we know ‘em. We know ‘em well.
Because we know them so well, we know all the challenges they face on a daily basis with marketing. A relatively small marketing team will be stretched to capacity across various products, services and business functions. And in my personal experience, many businesses have a slightly fluid definition of what should fall under the marketing teams’ list of responsibilities (making tea for a board meeting and fulfilling everyone’s printing needs being just some of my jobs in the past as a marketing executive). So time and resource is tight, but the pressure is still on to get funding from your vendor partners.
Even if you are lucky enough to have your very own team dedicated to vendor marketing, let’s face it – there are A LOT of vendors out there, and they all have different requirements, inner-workings and processes to learn. With such a wide range of vendors out there in a diverse landscape, it’s worth exploring all the nooks and crannies to get the most out of your vendor relationships.
Here are couple of ways you can transform your market development funds strategy.
Think big fish, but don’t forget the little ones
Vendor marketing is a numbers game – you want as much quarterly funding as possible, and preferably that should be from the lowest possible number of partners. It makes sense – you want to prioritise your strongest partnerships and biggest vendors – they’ll have access to more funds and have more incentive to give them to you. But there are a couple of reasons why relying solely on your “big fish” partners for your market development fund strategy might not be the ideal approach. Firstly, it could be a little risky – there may be other forces acting upon the partnership which are outside the control of marketing, which could destabilise the relationship with the vendor, leaving you and your source of funding out in the cold. Secondly, why not supplement the pot with some additional funding? Going to smaller vendors for funds not only spreads your risk and opens up new channels, it also adds even more to the marketing pot. We know very well from experience that there are likely smaller businesses you’re working with on things like peripherals and components, who will be more than willing to work on a marketing plan with you and secure you some funds. It’s worth exploring.
Elevate your campaigns
Let’s face it – sometimes, when it comes to vendor marketing, it can be easy/tempting to do a bit of a box-ticking exercise. Do the minimum to get the tick in the box, submit your claim and get the funds. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that thinking outside the box a little bit, and doing something really innovative which actually delivers some results, might be the better path to go down here. After all, more return on investment from the perspective of the vendor means they’re more likely to give you more funds in the future. It’s important to ensure that your focus areas as a business are reflected in your vendor marketing – and that activity is going to drive some real opportunities. There’s still inevitably going to be some guidelines to follow and some brand mentions to include, but if you nail the campaign, it’ll all be worth it!
Grow existing relationships
With any relationship, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. The same goes with vendor relationships. You’ve been plugging away for a couple of years, getting a solid pot of funds each quarter. But ask yourself – could you be getting more? Many vendors provide market development funds on a rebate basis – i.e. based on what you sell, but there could also be incremental funds available. Don’t be afraid to ask the question – if you have a good relationship, and are demonstrating that you’re selling a lot of their product, chances are they’ll do you a favour, and you can get away a tactical campaign and the funds that go with it.
If this is all sounding very well good, but you’re not sure how you’re going to find the time or the resource to do any of this – well we might have the answer. Cost Neutral Campaigns is our product specifically designed for technology resellers. We’ll work with you to take on the parts of your vendor marketing strategy you want us to – whether that’s strengthening your existing partnership or developing new ones. Just download our product sheet to find out more.