What’s in a Moment? On-Demand Summit Session Details Key Elements of Joint Alliance Marketing
The 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit is underway. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, ASAP will deliver two to three hours of live-streamed sessions that will be chock full of information that can help alliance managers advance their collaborations. On top of that, Summit attendees also have access to many more prerecorded sessions that touch numerous aspects of alliance management. As my colleague Michael Burke wrote yesterday, we will be bringing you highlights of some of those presentations throughout this week and beyond.
Liz Fuller, CA-AM, senior director of alliance marketing at Citrix, tackled one of those critical elements of alliance management in an on-demand session titled, “Integrated Joint Alliance Marketing Best Practices: How to Establish Joint
Marketing Moments That Drive Impact.” Fuller broadly covered five themes in her presentation:
- Focus on marketing “moments,” not activities
- Understand data
- Establish an integrated approach
- Build a complete content journey
- Set shared partnership goals
Share a Moment with Your Partner and Prospects
What is a marketing moment? Fuller asked viewers to think about their marketing efforts by contrasting the ripple effects that result from throwing one giant boulder into a lake against those that appear on the surface of the water after steadily tossing several small pebbles over a long period of time. You might see a large short-term impact from one big marketing initiative, but steady, consistent, small-scale engagement with prospects over time will ingrain your company’s value proposition into their consciousness, especially since people by nature have short attention spans. Metaphorically, the ripples from continual lighter-touch communication last longer.
“It’s not that you hold people’s attention, it’s that you stay in front of them. You don’t keep their attention because of one thing that you have done. You keep their attention regularly,” explained Fuller.
To tie the concept together, Fuller cited a hypothetical major partner user conference as an example of an event that could serve as a standalone marketing initiative (a large boulder) or part of a larger chain of interconnected marketing activities over time (a series of stones). Your company and the partner organization will likely put out press releases announcing a milestone of the collaboration during the event. The parties might issue other announcements at your conference two months later, and at another industry conference toward the end of the year.
However, the time between these events represents a white space of sorts for alliance marketing teams. Fuller urged listeners to fill that void with thought leadership pushes, extensive social media promotion and engagement, content tied to demand generation and pipeline nurturing, and customer success stories. She saw these activities as the “connective tissue” between the big events that creates larger marketing moments.
“Data Is Your Friend”
Although gut instinct always plays a part in marketing, Fuller reminded the audience that even those judgments are partly based on the “absorption of data,” not just on personal experiences.
“Data is your friend,” Fuller said, before admitting that she hated math as a student.
Fuller exhorted technology alliance pros to be familiar with the latest third-party economic and industry research, as well as reports and analysis from respected industry analysts. Current market size and projected growth models should always be in the minds of marketers as they try to figure out what is driving the market and from where the biggest growth will come. Joint marketing efforts should also be aligned with data and messaging associated with the sales organization’s annual priorities. Perhaps most importantly, past and current business results are also critical data points, even if constantly shifting marketing dynamics oftentimes lay waste to the notion that past is prologue.
“It’s not a perfect science,” Fuller acknowledged. However, “if you don’t look at how things perform for you previously, how do you expect to know how they will perform for you now?”
Integrating Marketing into Broader Organizational Goals
Fuller spoke about Citrix’s broader “air cover brand campaigns,” which embody some of the virtualization giant’s most pressing corporate goals and messages. These campaigns function as a roadmap for alliance marketing teams. Fuller said messaging for all joint alliance-marketing efforts: 1) align with this broader brand-campaign messaging, 2) are purpose-built for Citrix’s primary audiences, and 3) support the priorities of the sales organization.
Of course, gelling marketing with the other departments can be challenging. Each part of the organization might look at different metrics. In an alliance, sales, marketing, and business development “sometimes operate in different swim lanes,” according to Fuller.
Marketing can support sales in every phase of the funnel. If salespeople have already spoken to a prospect about a joint product, the alliance team should think of ways to support that lead further down the pipeline by delivering messages and supporting documentation around competing products, particular uses of the product or service, other potentially helpful joint offerings, or other functions or services that the customer has not considered that might be of use.
Content for Every Stage of the Marketing Journey
When putting together marketing campaigns, Fuller develops content for various stages of the customer’s purchasing journey, which she characterized in a set of generic statements:
- “I want to know” – The stage where the customer is eager to learn about something new
- “I want to go” – An intrigued customer wants more detailed information
- “I want to do” – The prospect is ready to see a demo or take a specific action
- “I want to buy” – Customer is ready to select an offering
Fuller similarly broke down the prospect’s mindset into a series of phases, and spoke about how to target content for the customer’s disposition in each moment.
- Awareness – Help prospects articulate their problems or illuminate a challenge they were previously weren’t conscious of
- Education – Customers gather lots of information before they talk to vendors, so alliance marketers must make sure those people come across white papers, articles, data sheets, and other content detailing their joint products and value proposition in the process
- Consideration – Strengthen side-by-side comparison messaging vis-à-vis competitors, and make sure joint offerings are submitted for bakeoffs, independent product reviews, and in-depth investigations of relevant products
- Purchase – Marketing materials must get prospects to do more than just buy the product; they should inspire customers to use a large percentage of the offering’s functionality—partners will endure a customer backlash if their services become “shelfware”
- Advocacy – How do you operate as an advisor to the organization so that they advocate for you down the road?
Jointly Developed KPIs Align Partners Behind Alliance Goals
If partners can’t agree on the alliance’s goals, they will have a hard time reaching them. Each party in an alliance needs to arrive at a set of clear, simply stated key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect what joint success looks like to the parties. This could come in the form of sales revenue, leads in the pipeline, share of voice, or other data points. This can be tricky at times because organizations often don’t measure things the same way, and sometimes each company uses a different language to discuss the same topics. These are minor obstacles as long as the parties ultimately present the same story to customers, prospects, and key internal stakeholders, in Fuller’s view.
Fuller had many more insights in her session. Summit attendees have the opportunity to learn what else will help their joint alliance marketing efforts, as her presentation will be on demand for those who have registered for the conference for an extended time.
Remember, Fuller’s presentation is just the tip of the iceberg of the great knowledge awaiting Summit registrants in our lineup of live sessions this Tuesday through Thursday and deep reservoir of on-demand sessions. Make sure you delve into the Summit portal soon!