Partner Campaigns - all that effort for nothing?

Partner marketing campaigns are rather like the box of printed brochures you find at the back of every marketing department cupboard.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but hardly any are used.  How many of you ask yourselves why you bother building campaigns and assets that are never used.? 

Here are some industry statistics for you: 

  • Channel Marketing has budget; with 5% of partner revenue usually given back as MDF (Source Channel Marketer Report 2020) 
  • 23% of channel salespeople are compensated on MDF use as well as closed revenue (Forrester 2022)  
  • 64% of vendors allocate more than 50% of their total marketing budget to partner marketing.  


So, what is broken?  



Our Channel Marketing Audit canvassed our delegates at  The Channel Meet Up. These events are attended by an exclusive group of vendor, channel marketers and the findings reported: 

How many of your partners are actively marketing: 
  • 67% of vendors said less than half. 
  • 10% of vendors simply didn’t know.  
Do you have good content and assets?  
  • Nearly 80% admitted their partner content & assets were poor. 
  • More than 80% said partners didn’t use the campaigns created. 
Do you provide marketing funds to your partners: 
  • Yes, 80% of vendors provide marketing funds to partners. 
  • Of those less than 40% of those funds are used  



Most partners are simply not running vendors’ campaigns and here’s why



MDF budgets are not being spent. 
The effort required to submit proposals, follow strict guidelines, and report proof of performance is too onerous on most small to mid-sized partners.  And invariably the funds available are not sufficient to tempt partners to do the work.   

Campaign-in-a-box isn’t working. 

There is no one-size-fits-all. Yes, a very few partners will run campaigns, but generally partners are selling solutions that are made up of multiple vendor products.  
As a result, vendor marketing £$ is being wasted. 



STOP doing the same thing when it’s not going to work. 

What should you do? 



Only create custom campaigns for those who will use them. 

Ideally provide a “Pick-n-mix” of collateral pieces that resellers can easily use in their campaigns. Most partners don’t want “finished campaigns” but copy blocks and graphics that can fit into their marketing. Be more flexible about policing your brand guidelines and just be grateful they are promoting you. It doesn’t matter if your logo is not in the right place, most customers won’t notice.  

As Sophy Gray, Founder of The Marketing Bee said “What matters most is that your solution is top of mind at that partner, and they are promoting you.”  

Gamify the campaign kits. 

Partners who can provide evidence of use of an asset or copy block, receive rewards or goodies. Everyone likes a reward, and these are usually given to sales, not marketing, so be different and stand out.  

Run Secret Shoppers with rewards 

Tell partners you have “Secret Shoppers” coming through and reward those who respond correctly to these calls, email enquiries, or online contact requests. This demonstrates they understand your solution and have the right response and assets in place.    

STOP thinking that Campaigns-in-a-box fixes everything.  

Don’t shoehorn messaging into campaigns for “the rest of your partners” as most partners don’t do single vendor campaigns, and many don’t have the marketing resources to create multi-touch campaigns.  Just ensure that there are collaterals to hand that are EASILY accessible to partners who don’t need to dig around on your portal to find them when needed.   

Give your partners LEADS. 

Vendors could use funds more effectively and with all the tracking in place, by running their own campaigns to give partners leads. And then reward partners who follow up and close the leads you provide.  


However, Jacqui Rand, Channel Director, at The Marketing Bee recommends; “To do this at scale, and consistently, bring in the experts. They will design the program, provide the reach and scale to deliver leads with full tracking and ROI.” 


Be bold, redistribute unused MDF and spend it effectively on lead generation. 


Start running innovative, smart, creative lead generation programs for your partners. And if you need a sanity check – just ask a few partners if they would like leads.  


How do your Partner Marketing campaigns stack up in the industry? 

Take the Audit test to find out and receive your personalised response: CLICK THE LINK HERE   



The Marketing Bee  

This was a collaborative blog from The Marketing Bee with thanks to the contributors: @Sophy @Sally @Olivier @Emma @Hilary  


What is The Marketing Bee – we deliver marketing and channel expertise into Tech businesses. Although marketing-as-a-services is not new, our way of delivering it is unique, as we use our community of professional and experienced freelancers to fulfil requirements.  

We work with large enterprises, or start-ups and scale-ups who don’t need a full marketing team, so we put a marketing team together that are real experts in their fields, to fill the gaps, flexibly and immediately.  Clients appreciate the speed at which we can deliver, and our freelancers love the independence, and The Marketing Bee does the admin heavy lifting.