This post is sponsored by Edenred.
The traditional channel ecosystem of the past decades needs to change in order to keep pace with brands’ approach to go-to-market and the evolution of buying pattern of b2b customers. This is further fuelled by innovations, digitalization and hyper-connectivity through rapid technology adoption. As a result, the 2020s will experience significant transformation in channel relationships between vendors, distributors and partners. Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Channel Incentive programs can play an important role in this transformation and bring significant competitive advantage to the brands.
Channel ecosystems are facing unprecedented transformational challenges than ever fuelled by several important factors such as
- more and more business buyers are involved then ever due to changing corporate structures and decision-making process
- new business models such as cloud and various “as-a-services” emerge, relationship between brands and channels needs redefinition
- strong midmarket demand continues to be the focus of growth for the next decades
- increased globalization and open market policies will impact brands’ reliance on extended channel networks for go-to-market and b2b customer support
- structure and role of extended channel networks evolve as businesses decentralize functions and bring efficiency to operations
Channel marketing at the heart of relationship building process can address the complexities by establishing excellence in programs, platforms and operational execution. As partner ecosystem changes, channel marketing must transform to stay relevant to partner needs. Channel Marketers can help partners adapt with new ways of go-to-market models and leverage data, insights and personalization to drive engagements. It is important, at each stage of partner journey, the channel marketers set targets based on objectives and partner potentials, activating triggers to action, incentives to motivate and help take actions to achieve KPIs.
Strong and long-term channel relationship can be established through PRM and Channel Incentive programs which are transparent, trust-based and outcome driven. A well designed PRM and Chanel Incentive program will not only help to track, measure and communicate partners the goals and objectives but also enable them to achieve the results through incentivizing the right behaviour. All these are possible with high degree of personalization, individual or group goal settings, competitions and gamifications. With myriad of technologies available, PRM programs have started incorporating AI and machine learning together with advanced data analytics tools to provide dynamic segmentation, predictive content and deep personalization. This in turn help channel marketers to have access to valuable information on partner behaviour, potentials and insights and enable them to make better decisions.
Most b2b organizations depend heavily on indirect channels to accelerate growth and market penetration. As distribution channel management goes through technological and digital transformation, PRM and Channel Incentives solutions brings competitive advantage for brands in their channel relationships. Well-designed PRM and Channel Incentive programs help manage and achieve these objectives in a faster way. Further, these solutions integrate with commerce, sales, marketing and services to give a unified front to the channel partners through which they can interact with the brands seamlessly.
As organizations plan their channel strategies for 2020s, program design demands flexible data strategy, compliances to corporate and regulatory requirements, ensuring the best practices for ethics and environment responsibilities are aligned. Channel marketers in 2020s will not only have the responsibility to engage, design and drive great channel programs but also be able to help redefine the new channel ecosystem which plays a positive role for the organization, society and environment at large.
To know more about how Edenred can assist you to plan, design and launch your own channel loyalty program in 2020, click here.
Edenred provides advanced expertise and solutions to manage and operate Partner Relationship Management, Channel Incentives, Loyalty Programs and Rewards programs across South East Asia and Asia-Pacific.
The writer is JB Ray, COO, Edenred SEA, marketing services who has over two decades of experience in B2B2C Loyalty and Incentive marketing in Asia Pacific.