HOW TO: Make the most out of channel partners

Channel marketing is one of the least well-understood aspects of marketing. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that for marketers, channels tend to be media such as email, magazine advertising, telemarketing, and so on. Channel marketing, however, does not refer to these marketing channels; it refers to sales channels such as retailers, catalogues, websites, door-to-door sales and events. On the B2B side, it is typically direct salespeople, websites, or channel partners.

Over the past two or three years, the demands of the recession have increased the importance for many B2B marketers of using channel partners. At the same time the rise of social media has presented many opportunities for conducting channel marketing more effectively.

However, channel marketing is an unfamiliar area to many B2B marketers, and they are discovering that while the rewards for getting it right are significant, the penalties for getting it wrong can be severe.