When it comes to channel marketing in the PHCP-PVF industry, trade shows and in-person meetings make up a majority of channel marketing strategy. Introduce the onset of a global pandemic, and suddenly distributors and manufacturers are left with few avenues to connect, market, and sell within the B2B channel. While quarantine mandates have begun to loosen, the safety and ease of connection associated with the use of technology continues to keep customers and channel partners online. For businesses fighting to keep their doors open, adopting a digital form of sales and channel marketing strategy will be the best way to stay active in the B2B channel.

In the Supply House Times article, “Business in an Accelerated Digital Age,” Natalie Forster interviews our own Mark Herbert, President and CEO of Incentive Solutions, on the importance of embracing the accelerated digital push within the B2B channel. Below are a few of his insights regarding the benefits of digitalization, and ways your business can start leveraging the power of technology today.

Channel Marketing: Establishing a Digital Presence

In times of newly implemented procedures and practices for all members of the channel, Mark encourages businesses to focus their attention on the needs of their customers:

“How are they being affected by this? What are the biggest needs they have? The brands and businesses that can provide stability and creative solutions for their customers during disruption are going to be the brands that people trust and choose to work with afterwards.”

While businesses may have the upmost intention of putting their customer first, relaying this message without an online platform in a time of social distancing severely limits the message’s reach. This is where Mark suggests using this time to begin the journey of forming a digital presence:

“You have to get people trained and educated on your product, your brand, your value propositions and now is a good time to do that; people are home and they can take some time to do that training.”

Transitioning into Digital Channel Marketing with Incentives

Change is notoriously met with resistance, which is why transitioning both your business and your customers online is bound to have its issues. As Mark notes, “one of the challenges I’ve seen our customers specifically facing, is that each of their customers are at different levels of digital knowledge and acceptance… You have to do your part to bring them training and information on how you will continue business practices digitally.”

As creatures of habit, when it comes to effective behavior modification, a combination of training, motivation and reward are the best catalysts. With the use of a channel incentive program, you have access to all three.  With an online reward platform, channel partners can access training, earn rewards, and effectively keep informed of your businesses’ latest news, all in one convenient location.

A personalized reward account provides your channel partners with added motivation to visit your company reward site. With the help of integration services, your reward site can be designed to match your existing branding and added directly to your existing eCommerce platform’s website menu for seamless channel marketing.

Your incentive program also guarantees a high success rate for communication. With technology’s many forms of spam at an all-time high, emails and other marketing messages are bound to get overlooked. When the possibility of a reward is attached to your digital communication methods, your emails are opened, read, and received, keeping your brand top of mind over competitors.

The Future of Channel Marketing

The reality of channel marketing and virtual communication is that they existed before the pandemic, and will continue to thrive well past its end. As Mark encourages, this is the time to adapt business practices to the benefits that technology provides, as well as prepare for the rapidly changing B2B landscape:

“Companies can benefit from this and find a balance of virtual and traditional once this is over…They should evaluate what can continue to be done digitally and remotely, and how that can help them be more efficient.”

With the help of an incentive program, you can aid channel partners through this transition while simultaneously growing your own business.

Interested in the benefits of channel incentives? Check out our recently released E-book, The Channel Incentive Playbook! It’s free and easy to download.

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<strong>About </strong>Nichole Gunn

About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.

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