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Ideas for improving Basket Abandonment Emails that are relevant to other types of email follow-up

On a recent webinar, a question was posed that I thought was worth a second look:

‘On an abandonment programme, sending a discount to encourage a purchase may not necessarily be a good idea, so what would be a good hook to get their interest peeked again?’.

This touches on another subject; the inevitable decline in response rates for basket abandonment emails. Some argue against this, but it is inevitable. I consider basket abandonment emails as just another product and therefore they will inevitably follow the same path as any other product, as illustrated in the classic graph below.

So, what can you do to ensure that your results do not decline?

5 Tips to improve email response rates for basket abandonment

Please excuse me for mentioning this, but have you got the basics right? Does your basket abandonment email include the products from the basket? Does the email link straight back to the saved basket? Are you using standard personalisation (e.g. Dear Matthew).Honestly, you’d be surprised how many mailers don’t, or aren’t able, to do this. If you fall into the former, then seriously, get another supplier, you will double conversion rates.

To be fair, this could easily fall into the basics. But whilst getting the basics right is as much to do with set-up as anything else, optimising your basket abandonment emails is post set-up and on-going. An untended basket abandonment email will wilt, mainly because your best customers, intrigued by the first one, will simply get used to receiving them.So what constitutes optimisation of behavioural email? Well, start by testing the usual suspects ( subject line, time sent, copy, creative) to get the best performance. I believe testing is even more valuable with trigger and behavioural email, because the learnings will benefit you for months to come.

Another very simple way to improve conversion rates is to send one, sometimes 2 follow-ups. Working on the basis that 50% of the recipients won’t open the email, and approximately only 5% will go onto purchase, a cleverly crafted follow-up should achieve 40% of the performance of the initial send

But I emphasis ‘cleverly crafted’… don’t bang out the same email to people who have opened, that is the way to turn relevant email into spam.

Or should I say ‘don’t rule out offers’. Firstly, decide what type of customer you want to encourage with an offer. Many online retailers focus on the 2nd sale, aiming to increase the repeat purchase ratio. Perhaps use offers here, and also use business rules on your database to make sure that customers only ever get an offer once.

Alternatively, cross sell with an offer, e.g ‘the item of clothing you left in your basket looks great with these shoes, 20% off’ or ‘people interested in this also looked at this…’. Product recommendations are also useful when seeking to increase engagement with basket abandonment emails. It may be that the abandoner did not find what they were looking for.

Once that is all in place, one thing to remind you of is that it is the communication itself that is the primary hook. The email is a reminder, a prompt, or even a disruptive influence on the decision-making process… remember the cliché – don’t ask, don’t get. The simple fact is that if you craft your emails carefully, then performance will improve.

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What Is Email Marketing: Understanding Email Campaigns

A marketing campaign is a set of interconnected email messages that are sent out to a specific audience with a specific purpose. These messages can be used to promote a particular product or service, or they can be used to make a purchase. It can help you build strong relationships with them and raise awareness about your brand.

An email campaign is composed of various marketing efforts that are designed to reach multiple recipients at the right time. It is a type of marketing strategy that aims to connect with potential customers and increase brand awareness. Emails can also help boost sales and establish a stronger brand image. There are a variety of goals that you can achieve with an email marketing campaign. Let’s understand more about email marketing, campaigns, and tips for creating them.

What is Email Marketing?

One of the most effective ways businesses can reach their customers is through email marketing. It is a direct marketing technique that allows them to share information with their customers. It lets you keep in touch with your customers and allows you to keep them updated with the latest promotions and products. According to studies, it costs more to acquire a customer than it does to retain one.

Importance of Email Marketing

Although email was first introduced in 1971, it has become more prevalent than ever. At 50 years old, it still remains one of the most widely used forms of digital communication. Many people may wonder if the email is still relevant in today’s digital marketing environment, given that social media is an integral part of any strategy.

Email marketing is more effective than social media marketing for small businesses, as it allows them to customize their campaigns and reach out to their ideal customers in a more personalized manner. It also costs less than other forms of digital marketing. In addition, it gives you direct access to your audience’s inboxes, which is very valuable for any company.

Types of Email Marketing Campaigns

A comprehensive email marketing strategy is necessary, as there is no single email that you want to send out. Instead, you should use varying email techniques to reach your intended audience.

Promotional Email

A marketing campaign can be used to promote various products and services, such as new releases and exclusive content. It can be composed of up to 10 emails sent over a period of time. A call-to-action, or CTA, is a feature in the email that describes the specific action that you want the recipient to take.

Your company’s marketing rhythm dictates how often you should send marketing emails. For instance, during certain periods, such as Black Friday, you might send multiple emails within a 24-hour period. On the other hand, slower periods might have a few weeks between your campaigns.

Welcome Emails

A welcome email is a series of one-to-one emails that new subscriber receives after they sign up for your email list or purchase a product or service. It’s a great way to connect with new customers and help them get to the “next step.” The best welcome emails tend to be short and actionable, and they’re usually focused on taking subscribers to the “next step.”

Informational Emails

A newsletter is a type of media that aims to share news about your business. It can be used to promote new capabilities or products, as well as provide insight into what’s happening in the market. It’s also a great way to maintain a consistent flow of content for your email subscribers.

An email is an ideal way to let customers know about a new product or service, as well as various other important messages. It’s also the go-to channel for communication whenever there’s a problem with your website or software. Having the ability to update your contacts in real-time is very important if you’re experiencing issues with your system or software.

Cart abandonment Emails

A cart abandonment campaign is an email campaign that aims to get the attention of shoppers who left your store after placing an order but didn’t finish it. It can motivate them to return and complete the purchase by offering various incentives.

Tips to Create an Email Marketing Campaign Know Your Audience

Today’s customers expect more from brands, and they value personalized communications. Unfortunately, generic emails do not cut it anymore. To effectively reach this audience, you need to understand their demographics.

Choose a Relevant Email List

Sending the right messages to the right people is very important to ensure that they have the most impact. For instance, if a brand has an international presence, it should only target its audience in the region that’s most relevant to its products and services. Other ways to reach a highly relevant audience are through demographic factors such as age, gender, and geographical preference. When it comes to collecting email lists, be careful not to buy them, as it can get you blocked and marked by email service providers.

Design Email

Your email is full of valuable information, but it should not look bad. One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to designing your email is the layout. Don’t try to cram too many graphics into your message, as this could overwhelm your recipients and send them to the spam folder. Using a simple and clean layout will make your key message easy to understand and will keep your message in focus.

Do Personalization

When it comes to providing your subscribers with the best possible experience, email personalization is a process that allows you to tailor your message to each individual contact. This allows you to create a personalized and relevant email experience.

Include CTA

A clear call-to-action is very important in order for your email recipients to take action after receiving your message.

A/B Test Your Email

As an email marketer, it’s important that you constantly try new strategies and ideas to reach your goals. However, before you implement a new concept, make sure that it’s strong enough to replace your existing strategy. This can be done through split testing or A/B testing.

A/B testing is a process that allows you to send out emails with varying subject lines to different groups. After the campaign is over, you can then use your base metrics to determine which of the various options performed well.

Track the Success Conclusion

Email marketing is a flexible and scalable tool that can be used to achieve various marketing goals. It can be used to achieve complex goals depending on your organization’s infrastructure and needs, as well as your company’s capabilities. As its technology and maturity continue to evolve, it can help brands grow their marketing impact.

5 Inspiring Examples Of Integrated Marketing Campaigns

What do effective integrated marketing campaigns have in common?

Integrated marketing campaigns can be a tricky art to perfect. We live in a multi-media world, which means that new media and old media sit alongside one another, sometimes competing, other times working collectively – in the case of integrated campaigns they work together.

#1 Compare the Market – Baby Oleg

More recently, in August we were shown Baby Oleg’s life journey.

The continuous roll out and development on this character throughout the year has proven consistency of the brand and messaging – key factors in creating a solid campaign. These friendly Meerkats have almost become part of everyday life, as they quite literally pop up everywhere.

#2 O2 – Be More Dog

Originally launch last year O2’s ‘Be More Dog’ campaign, which featured a ginger cat trying to live a dog’s life had been a huge success for the brand. Granted – being ‘more dog’ has nothing to do with mobile phones, but the quirkiness of the integrated campaign is what led its success.

To promote its revamped priority app in May 2014 launched a £7m campaign using England rugby players, Mike Brown and Alex Goode attempting to Be More Dog: in this, we see the cat become a motivational speaker.

This integrated marketing campaign from O2 is so clever it not only intrigues users due to its kooky nature and offers them something extra in the form of priority.

#3 chúng tôi – Sorry for all the holiday Spam

Launching a package for customers to use their phone in 16 destinations worldwide like they would at home, with no extra cost for data led to 3 having to make one large apology… to the entire nation.

Relevance is the key to this integrated campaign – it was successful by people being able to relate to it, whether they were on holiday, or fed up of everyone else’s holiday spam. The campaign was also consistent with the hashtag #holidayspam included in every part of the marketing collateral.

#4 Lidl – #lidlsurprises

The most recent Lidl Surprises, ingenious campaign rolled out on the 4th September on television, print and outdoor – accompanied by a larger than normal social media boost.

The entire campaign is amongst Lidl’s efforts to step away from traditional media, moving into engaging and interacting with its customers on social media and in stores. Mixing both traditional and digital media together offers a smooth transition to a more up to date modern approach for Lidl’s marketing efforts.

This campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, putting Lidl right up against UK supermarket giants like Tesco and Asda. It is difficult to determine the full extent of the success this campaign has achieved yet. Despite this, the social media buzz surrounding it was significant.

#5 Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola Life

Recently, Coca-Cola launched a new product to its long standing line of soft drinks, called ‘Coca-Cola Life’ along with a month long campaign. Coca-Cola Life fits in the same kind of category as Coke Zero and Diet Coke – another one of Coca-Cola’s attempts to release a healthier option to its main heavily sugary product.

Along with all of the above, Coca-Cola launched a competition – on Saturday 20th September a pop-up shop opened on South Molton Street, London offering customers to not just have a taste of the new Life drink, but also give them a chance of winning a Coca-Cola Life prize – one of those being a long weekend in New York City. Of course, to fulfil the campaign’s integrated position those who were not able to visit the pop-up shop still had the chance to enter the competition by sharing a Coca-Cola Life moment picture online and using the hashtags #CocaColaLife and #comp.

The product is yet to be proven as a success, but as a campaign it’s fulfilling every specification to be a great integrated marketing campaign.

There’s a few lessons that can be learned from these integrated marketing case studies; one of those being that it doesn’t matter if you mix up the media within your campaign, in fact it’s largely positive, you just have to ensure that there is brand consistency across the entire roll out.

The way in which the message is communicated can also alter the effectiveness of the campaign, as can choosing which media should be at the forefront or the driving factor behind your strategy. It can all become a difficult balance to get right but it’s crucial that you do get it right.

Maggie Majstrova is the Studio Manager at Higher Ground Creative, with a background in Account Management and Web Development. You can connect with Maggie on LinkedIn and Google+ 

10 Lightroom Editing Tips To Improve Your Skills

When it comes to photo editing software, Adobe Lightroom is one of the most well-known programs. Whether you want to crop and adjust family photos or produce professional-grade images for publication, Lightroom can do it all.

In this beginner’s tutorial, we’ll cover 10 Lightroom editing tips you can use to improve your photo editing skills. These tips apply to every version of Lightroom, including Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, and the Lightroom mobile app.

Table of Contents

1. Understand the Basics of Lightroom

If you’re new to Lightroom, check out our Lightroom beginner’s guide on how to get started. After that, these basic post-processing tips will help you progress in your photo editing journey:

Use auto-tone.

If you’re new to Lightroom, you can use the auto-tone feature in the Basic panel of the Develop module. This will allow Adobe Sensei — Lightroom’s artificial intelligence (AI) — to adjust your image to what it thinks are good settings. While this won’t be a finished product, it can help get you closer to it.

Use auto-

white balance


Just like auto-tone, you can select the


button under the White Balance section, too. Lightroom will adjust your white balance to what it thinks is right. This won’t always be perfect, but it’ll usually be closer than the original (if you used the wrong settings in camera). This means you won’t have to play around with the Temp and Tint sliders.

Press reset.

If you don’t like your edit, but you’re not sure exactly what went wrong, you can select


. This simple button takes your photo back to its original state, letting you start again.

Compare to the

original image


When editing, you can press the keyboard shortcut “” to view the photo in its original state. Toggling between edited and original states, you can easily see what you like about the photo and what you don’t.

Pro tip: Set your camera to produce RAW files rather than JPEGs. RAW files contain more data, letting you manipulate the image more than you can with JPEGs. This is especially helpful if you don’t expose your images correctly, as it gives you more leeway to rescue the light and dark areas.

2. Use Brushes to Dodge and Burn

Dodging and burning is when you apply exposure tweaks to small areas of your image, rather than applying global adjustments. “Dodging” is when you increase the exposure (or lighten the image) and “burning” is when you decrease it (or darken the image).

Lightroom includes several selection tools, from brushes to radial filters to automatic subject selection tools. The most common way to apply dodging and burning is to make local adjustments using the Brush tool.

To do so:

In the

Develop module

, select


(or press







. If using a mouse, you can expand or contract the size of your brush using the mouse wheel. On Lightroom mobile, use the size slider. You can also adjust the feather, flow, and density.

Any settings you activate under


will be applied to the area you brush. To dodge, increase the exposure. To burn, decrease it.

Pro tip: Use the “Auto Mask” feature to assist your brushing process. Applying a brush to specific, finely defined areas (like hair or birds) can take a lot of time. Auto Mask lets Lightroom try to find the edges of each object automatically. This way, when you use the brush, it won’t apply masking to the area it doesn’t think is part of the object.

3. Use Range Masking

When you use masking, there’s a handful of ways to tell Lightroom to only apply that mask to particular parts of your image inside the mask.

To do so, press Masking then select Range and choose either Luminance Range or Color Range. Alternatively, if you already have a mask, you can press Subtract then Luminance Range to remove that luminance value from your mask.

Each of these will give you power over what to include or remove from your masks. However, range masking gives you even tighter control by letting you tell Lightroom which colors or luminance values you want to focus on.

Choosing Luminance Range will open up a new slider that lets you control both ends from 0-100. Play around with the sliders to see how your mask changes. To target dark values, move the right-hand slider towards the 0 value. To target light values, do the opposite.

Choosing Color Range opens up a similar slider. Use the dropper to select the color you want to remove, then use the slider to refine your selection.

4. Remove Fringing

You’ve probably noticed that several of your photos have a frustrating green or purple fringe to objects in harsh light. This is caused by something called “chromatic aberration”, an unavoidable optical phenomenon that occurs because of the way light reaches your camera sensor through your lens.

Luckily, Lightroom has a built-in tool to remove this. In the Develop module, scroll down to Lens Corrections. Here, you can choose either Profile (automatic) or Manual.



, select

Remove Chromatic Aberration

to allow Lightroom to automatically try to remove the fringing.

If this doesn’t work, select


then select the

Dropper tool


Hover over the fringing until the right color appears (in the example below, purple).

5. Use Composition Aids

You can use Lightroom’s grid overlays to crop and compose your photos exactly how you’d like. There are several overlays, from the rule of thirds to the golden ratio spiral. These can help you compose your photo according to several well-known aesthetic “rules” of composition.

To select your composition aid, press the


button in the

Develop module


When the crop overlay appears, press


on your keyboard. Keep pressing


to cycle through the different options. On Lightroom for mobile, tap the

three dots

in the upper-right corner, then tap the

Grid icon

. Choose






, or



6. Pay Attention to the Histogram

You can find the histogram in the top-right corner of the Develop module. This complicated-looking graph shows your image’s tonal values and color distribution.

The red, blue, and yellow sections represent how concentrated those colors are in the image. Green areas are where blue and yellow overlap, and turquoise areas are where green and blue overlap. The gray areas are where all three colors overlap.

The left-hand side of the histogram represents the darkest parts of your image, and the right-hand side is the brightest. So if most of your peaks are on the left, your image may be underexposed (and vice versa). A well-exposed image will generally have most of the histogram toward the center of the graph in a single peak.

Pressing the J key will show you where your image is clipping. Clipping is where your highlights or shadows have reached the point where no information is being shown anymore — it’s just white or black pixels.

If you press J and then play around with the exposure slider, you’ll see red areas where the highlights are clipping and blue where the shadows are. This can help you get the perfect exposure.

7. Remove Unwanted Dust Particles (and Other Objects)

When it comes to photography, dust spots are an annoying part of the process. Changing lenses often introduces dust to your camera sensor, which can appear as distracting black smudges in your photos.

Lightroom now features a spot removal tool that can help you remove these (and other) distracting objects from your photos, speeding up your editing workflow because you no longer need to switch to Photoshop to get rid of them.

To remove dust particles:

In the

Develop module

, press the


icon (it looks like a bandaid).

Using the healing tool, hover over the section you want to fix. You can increase the size with your mouse’s scroll wheel or by adjusting the size slider.

Press and drag the healing tool over the area you want to fix, then let go. Lightroom will automatically replace that section of the image with similar pixels.

8. Batch Editing

If you have a series of similar images you want to edit the same way, you can apply batch editing to speed up your editing process.

To do so:

Edit your image manually or apply one of the Lightroom presets.

With the edited image selected, hold




on Mac), and select all other images you want to apply the edit to.

Make sure every setting you want to apply is ticked, then press



9. Use Masking When Applying Sharpening

When you’re applying sharpening and noise reduction, you’re able to selectively choose which parts of the image you want to affect. To do so

Use the sliders to apply as much sharpening or noise reduction as you’d like.

Press and hold the


key (or


on Mac), then move the


slider. Your image will turn to black and white. The areas in white are where the sharpening or noise reduction will apply. Everywhere that’s black will be ignored.

10. Learn How to Color Grade

Color grading is one of the hardest skills to learn, but with a lot of trial and error, you can hone your eye and learn to make beautiful images.

In Lightroom, colors can be manipulated in several ways:

In the

Basic panel

, the


slider enhances all colors, while


enhances colors in low-intensity areas.

In the

Tone Curve

panel, each color channel can be manipulated by changing its tonal values individually. To do so, choose the


then select and drag the



In the



, you can adjust the hue, saturation, and luminance for each color individually.

In the

Color Grading

panel, you can adjust color wheels for your Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights. Moving the dot to a particular color will tinge those tones correspondingly. The further you move the dot to the circle’s edge, the more saturation will be applied.

Finally, in the



, you can adjust the Tint, Hue, and Saturation of the major colors to achieve the exact look that you want.

From Beginner to Professional

Becoming adept at photo editing can take time. There are dozens of editing tools, and it can be hard to know where to start. But with these photography tips, you should be well on your way to using the Lightroom photo editor like a pro.

10 Tips For Leaders To Improve Their Self

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor your own emotions and reactions.

Studies show that people who have great self-awareness are better leaders because of it.

There are many ways to improve self-awareness, like setting boundaries and practicing self-discipline.

This article is for leaders who want to improve their self-awareness.

What is the most important characteristic of a leader? Some might say it’s integrity. Others might say it’s being a good motivator. But psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell, author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person, believes self-awareness is the key factor in leadership success.

What is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor your own emotions and reactions. It lets you know your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators and other characteristics. Being self-aware means taking a deeper look at your emotions, why you feel a certain way, and how your sentiments could turn into reactions.


Learning how to identify emotions as they happen increases your self-awareness.

Practicing self-awareness allows you to react better to situations or people who might set you off, which is a healthy skill to cultivate – especially as a leader. When you’re aware of your emotions and how you handle them, you’re better equipped to process and work through them, avoiding unnecessary conflict. This will also help you set a good example for your team and make them more comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns. Even if you’re not where you want to be as a leader, developing self-awareness and acknowledging areas you need to work on is the first step.

How important is self-awareness in leadership and business?

Without self-awareness, leaders can appear arrogant. If you cannot be personable, or know when you are crossing a line, how can you lead a company?

The need for self-awareness extends to other business situations, too. Think about how crucial self-awareness is in giving sales pitches or handling feedback, for instance; if you are not aware of how you will react or do not have a way to prevent a negative reaction, you could get yourself in trouble.

Did You Know?

Coping mechanisms developed in childhood can prevent you from achieving goals. By becoming aware of these automatic reactions, you can opt out of using them when they provide no benefit.

Self-awareness is also helpful for presentations. Many people get nervous when delivering pitches, speeches or even notes at a meeting. Self-awareness can help. If you use too many filler words during presentations, practice your presentation and have someone clap every time you use a word you want to avoid. If you tend to sway or pace around while presenting, limit your ability to move by sitting at the table with your client or using a podium.

What are self-awareness skills?

In addition to being aware of your own emotions, self-awareness involves knowing how you will react to others.

“Self-awareness keeps us grounded, attuned and focused,” said Campbell in her book. “When leaders are grounded, they can be efficient and deliberate in staying on task and being attuned to those around them. Leaders who can control their minds and emotions help to guide those around them to develop their own self-knowledge and success.”

These are some important self-awareness skills:

Empathy: When you fine-tune your self-awareness abilities, you will become more empathetic thanks to heightened emotional intelligence.

Adaptability: If you know how you will react, you could avoid a tough situation by taking a walk or just taking a few deep breaths.

Confidence: By accepting and even embracing your flaws, needs and strengths, you will increase your ability to be vulnerable, which allows for stronger relationships in the workplace. Maintaining confidence is key to success.

Mindfulness: When you’re self-aware, you become more mindful of the present moment, allowing yourself to take situations as they happen rather than dwelling on the past or projecting into the future.

Patience: While your immediate reaction might be to scold an employee for a mistake or let your frustrations out on your team, self-awareness will help you practice patience, even in the face of conflict.

Kindness: This is achievable when you put aside your own feelings to support another person. Even if you’re having a bad day, being self-aware and realizing your workers are also human beings with similar struggles can help you be more sympathetic.

Key Takeaway

Self-awareness rarely happens immediately. It takes time, commitment and practice.

Tips for becoming more self-aware

Learning to be aware of yourself isn’t always easy, but it can help you become a more effective leader. Here are 10 tips for improving self-awareness.

Keep an open mind. When you are able to regulate your own emotional world, you can be more attuned to others’ emotions. To be a successful leader, you need to be curious about new people and all they have to offer. This shows that you can be a team player and don’t need to be Number One all the time. The more open you are to others, the more creative an entrepreneur you will become.

Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware individuals know their strengths and weaknesses and can work from that space. Being mindful of this means knowing when to reach out for assistance and when you can handle a situation on your own.

Stay focused. An important part of being a leader is making connections, but you can’t do that if you’re distracted. Train yourself to focus for long periods of time without getting sucked into social media, emails or other small distractions to improve your productivity.

Set boundaries. A leader needs to put strong limits in place. Be warm toward others, but say no when it’s needed. Be serious about your work and your passions, and keep your boundaries firm to maintain the integrity of your goals and the work you put into them.

Know your emotional triggers. Self-aware individuals can identify their emotions as they are happening. Don’t repress your emotions or deny their causes; instead, bend and flex with them, and fully process them before communicating with others.

Embrace your intuition. Successful people learn to trust their instincts in decision-making and take the risks associated with those choices. Your instincts are based on the survival of the fittest and the need to succeed. They will tell you what to do next, so learn to trust your intuition.

Practice self-discipline. Good leaders tend to be disciplined in every area of their lives. This trait provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong leadership.

Consider how your actions affect others. We often act without thinking first, focusing only on our own needs. While self-awareness requires acknowledging your emotions, you must also identify how you handle those feelings and how any subsequent actions impact those around you. Being more considerate of others will help you navigate difficult situations.

Apologize when necessary. Mistakes happen, but self-awareness will help you recognize when your slip-ups require apologies. Maybe you lashed out at your staff, or perhaps you’ve been difficult to reach lately. Whatever your mistake was, saying you’re sorry (and meaning it) and then changing your behavior is the best way to move forward.

Ask for feedback. While being self-aware means understanding yourself without input from others, it takes courage (and self-awareness) to ask for honest employee feedback. Doing this acknowledges your natural biases toward yourself (which we all have), and helps you gain a more objective view.

Nicole Fallon contributed to the writing and research in this article.

6 Practical Partner Marketing Tips From The Enterprise Strategy Group

6 Practical Partner Marketing Tips from the Enterprise Strategy Group Fiona O’Connor

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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While a vanguard of organizations is now investing more in their partner programs, many partner marketing teams are still struggling towards ambitious goals with limited resources.

For insight into how partner marketing organizations can improve their strategies, Michael Latchford, VP of Strategic Alliances and Partner Marketing Services recently spoke with Kevin Rhone, Channel Acceleration Practice Lead at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). Here are a few takeaways from their conversation.

#1 – To define reasonable milestones for success, clearly establish where you’re at now

Ambitious goals make it especially hard to show meaningful progress. Gaining support typically depends on demonstrating progress, however. So, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of where your partner marketing program stands today and communicate that to stakeholders. ESG helps client partner marketing teams with this assessment by working through answers to a set of key questions, including:

Are you attracting and retaining the “right” kind of partners?

How do you best align ideal partner profiles with target customer segments?

How can you increase partner commitment and share of wallet?

Are you partners prepared for success in high-growth segments?

Could your partners sell more effectively to deliver increased revenue at a faster rate?

How do your programs stand up to competitors’ (that recruit for the same partners)?

The goal of this assessment is to understand areas of progress to date and potential opportunities for improvement. From there, a reasonable benchmark can be established.

#2 – Strong and clear value proposition remains fundamental

While this may seem obvious, too many teams invest too little on articulating a partner program’s value proposition when they’re starting up. To attract the partnerships you need now and for the long term, a program’s value proposition must continuously resonate with prospective partners. In ESG’s experience, this means centering your focus on prospective partners’ key questions. In practice, ESG employs a five-point methodology to help clients develop impactful value propositions, including a series of guiding questions to lay the groundwork:

Impact on sales growth – How big is the market opportunity and do our customers want this solution? Is it easy to articulate when selling?

Fit and synergy with the partner’s business – How does the solution fit into the business? Is it easy to get this up and running within our organization?

Financial return – How will this partnership make our business money? What does it cost to get in and stay in the partnership? What ongoing investments need to be made?

Differentiation – How does this partnership set us apart from other partners with similar competitive solutions?

Extensibility of customer relationships – How might this partnership help support the long-term relationships we have with our own customers?

#3 – No matter the scale of your program, focus on quality over quantity

As partnering becomes more and more competitive, it can be tempting to build volume. But volume necessarily increases the risk of lower average success because of the difficulty in managing consistent value delivery at scale. When in program start-up mode, instead of prioritizing a volume objective, Kevin recommends focusing on a smaller number of partnerships – even as small as one to three partners. He sees this as a more strategic approach because it better allows you to focus on constructing a successful value delivery model. By keeping partner numbers manageable early on, you can optimize program elements before taking on the additional challenges that come with greater scale.

#4 – Keep an eye on the partner landscape as it continuously evolves.

Markets can evolve quickly, so it’s natural that the preferences of partners within them will also evolve at a similar pace. And likewise, that means that a partner program must not remain static – it needs to be able to adapt to its constituencies’ requirements. Therefore, to remain competitively attractive to partners, it’s important that partner marketers always keep an eye on the landscape and adjust to changes quickly.

Kevin identified two areas where he’s seeing notable shifts in the partner landscape right now. The first is the increasing interdependence of vendors. They’re interacting with each other more and forming alliances for the benefit of partners. The second is a shift away from dependency on the transactional resale model.

#5 – Message the customer with a focus on their needs. #6 – Preferred content formats continue to evolve.

Go-to-market teams across distribution models recognize both the importance of good content and the difficulty of producing it. Whatever the format, the content your partner marketing program delivers is critical to accelerating value realization for partners. In the past, ESG saw content creation efforts heavily weighted towards investment in long-form materials, like white papers. Now, there is increasing receptivity to more “snackable content” – formats that can be quickly viewed and understood. Formats like three-minute videos, infographics and two-page business justification briefs are highly successful for engaging prospects. This is good news for resource-strapped teams, since short-form content can be easier to produce and update.

For more insights from partner marketing experts, check out TechTarget’s Partner Marketing Visionaries webinar series. To learn more about products and services to support your partner marketing efforts, contact Michael Latchford.

alliance marketing, Channel and Alliance Partnerships, channel marketing, channel marketing strategies, partner marketing, partner marketing ecosystems

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