We all know, customers no longer conduct their product or brand exploration by reading magazines, market research, visiting exhibitions or asking the “experts”. Instead prospects explore the web, get influenced by peer groups and trusted networks THEN they touch base with interesting product or brand sources.
What was once a key function of the channel:
“Being the local go to point for information”, is steadily evaporating. But as always channels have an enormous opportunity.
Nowadays it is all about content, conversation and collaboration. How many people are commenting on your blog, retweeting your content, conducting local meetups, help spreading the word about your latest video clip on YouTube, helping you to increase your followers, drive conversations…
Today – if you cam mobilize your channel – with hundreds or even thousands of partners you can make a big difference in the conversation web (or social web). Can your direct sales force be trusted when they RECOMMEND you? Not really – actually NOT AT ALL. But if you get people in your channel to recommend you – that is different. OK also they may be not trusted like an actual customer but they do what they did in the last 5,000 years be a somewhat trusted mediator.
1) Do you leverage your channel for a dialog with your market?
2) If not how long do you expect it takes?
3) How long do you expect it takes for your biggest competitor?
Do the test and ask yourself:
1) With all the social media marketing initiatives you are doing, is your channel even somehow involved?
2) Do you know (not assume) what your partners are doing in regards to social networking? Are some of their team members on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter? Do some write blogs, personally or professionally – DO YOU KNOW?
3) Are you connected with all the people you deal with in your channel?
4) Do you share information with them?
5) Do they help you spread the word?
If this is all a yes, you are cool. If not, you gotta do something – right?