The past two years have signalled a major shift in the marketing tactics of channel resellers. According to recent research carried out by Active Profile, the nature of this shift hasn’t necessarily proved beneficial for the marketing strategies of even the most successful and established IT resellers.
The shift we’re talking about involves a stark move away from the strategic marketing playbook. Research indicates that we’re witnessing an outright rejection of the B2B funnel approach of awareness, consideration, and decision. This is, of course, the three-step process that has been helping businesses to attract, engage and convert leads into customers since the world of B2B marketing began. It’s been tried, tested, and successfully executed for brands all over the world – big and small, from every sector imaginable.
So, what’s with this mass exodus of resellers who no longer wish to rely on the dependable B2B funnel? Why are they bypassing such a crucial formula for success? And what tactics have they switched to instead?
According to Active Profile’s latest Channel Marketing Trends Report, many resellers are now turning their attentions towards shorter-term view tactics; smaller bursts of activity, as opposed to a considered strategic approach. We get it – they’re cheap and cheerful, and this stripped back method of marketing is still geared towards driving engagement and leads – but it rarely brings about long-term success. The same report found that only 34% of resellers are utilising the full-funnel process, with just 31% currently gating valuable content, and only 20% executing targeted, sector-specific campaigns.
“Quick fix” tactics might work to generate leads initially but can’t be relied upon long-term. When companies are in this stealth mode, they find themselves caught up in a “sell, sell, sell!” mindset – the blinkers are on, and the focus is all about short term gain – when, instead, resellers should be prioritising customer needs and taking a deeper dive into their challenges.
In fact, there’s a solid argument to be had that these short-term marketing tactics are actually deeply harming growth potential. Scattergun-style marketing collateral, with no considered message or strategic purpose, simply brings nothing new and zero value to the table for IT resellers or the vendors they’re selling on behalf of. And can they really afford to be sitting on their hands when it comes to their marketing plan?
The importance of being pragmatic
With an eyewatering 42,920 IT reseller businesses registered in the UK alone, it’s never been more crucial to adopt a pragmatic approach to marketing execution. One that simply works and isn’t too overcomplicated. And when you consider the basic psychology of consumers, it’s no secret that they tend to buy from brands that they can relate to. So why do so many business leaders and marketers in the channel seem to have forgotten that B2B buyers are consumers too? Perhaps they need gently reminding that the same psychology behind buying extends to this demographic of customers, who still have very specific challenges, needs, and goals.
When deciding how to tackle these challenges and remedy these pain points, often the simplest solutions tend to be the most effective ones. The full-funnel marketing approach provides a practical and proven process to remedying the pain points of channel resellers, who likely find they’re struggling to stand out from the crowd, in an oversaturated industry space.
Through a full funnel approach, you can expect to benefit from enhanced customer engagement, improved sales conversions, measurable impact, enhanced brand awareness, and greater alignment between sales and marketing
Good things take time
Ultimately, resellers that simply package up vendor solutions without adding any added value run the risk of being left behind. Resellers need to be creating content that informs and resonates at every stage of the (often neglected) B2B consumer journey. These companies also need to be meticulously considering the strategy behind building their overall brand awareness, and exploring how they can be better standing out from the crowd, to ultimately resonate impactfully with their target audience.
And let’s face it: all of these crucial considerations cannot be improved upon with a singular, short-term burst of marketing activity. But, if resellers consider taking their brand and content strategy on the full-funnel B2B journey – they will find all of these challenges can and will be met, with just a little bit of planning and precision.
So, if you’re a reseller thinking of jacking in your long-term marketing strategy for a bit of short-term success – stop what you’re doing. Head straight back to the top of that funnel, and work your way down. The result at the end will be worth it. Real, sustainable, scalable reseller marketing success.
Nathan is a marketing chameleon, starting his career in non-profit higher education, before moving through both in-house and agencies across a range of industries, before starting at Active Profile as the Head of Campaigns in 2020.
Nathan’s vast experience takes his knowledge across a range of sectors including higher education, local Government, recruitment, automotive, financial services, and tech (channel and SaaS). Working in mostly B2B environments, his career spans from small family businesses to big global agencies.
With over 13 years of experience in marketing, Nathan’s specialism centers on marketing execution, strategy, data, and insights. He is passionate about leveraging data and marketing to help clients reach their ultimate business goals, whether that be increasing brand awareness or driving higher sales.