5 Tips for Building a Modern Channel Incentive Program

By Anna Sophie Gross Mar 21, 2016

Nowadays channel marketing is all about getting into the shoes of your channel partners, to find out what gets them going, what drives them to action. It’s more important than ever that you truly make them feel special, and spark the je ne sais quois that makes them engage with and cherish your brand.

According to neurological research, people tend to like others because they see aspects of themselves in them. That’s to say, “I like you because you’re like me and I like me – you make me feel good about who I am.” Using this phenomenon as a diving board, companies need to make their brand and offerings resemble and reflect the personalities, needs and desires of their channel partners.

In this article we’re going to walk you through a five step guide on how to align your marketing strategy to the natures and aspirations of modern day channel partners, so when confronted with your incentive program, they see their own reflection smiling back at them.

  1. Use mobile technology

Mobile technology means that your program can reach channel partners wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. In the high-pace, dynamic world of today, sellers, distributors and business executives spend a lot of their time on the move, travelling to weird and wonderful places and attending meetings. You need your strategy to be accompanying them throughout their journey.

Mobile technology can be thought of as the modern man or woman’s best friend – joining them everywhere they go, acting as a confident for their most intimate secrets, sleeping soundly beside them at night ready to wake them for the coming day. If your company doesn’t reach out to the best friend, it’s likely to lose out on its accomplice.

  1. Make it convenient

Taking into consideration this highly dynamic and mobile modern generation of channel partners, it’s essential that information and resources in your program are made available at convenient times. We’re talking first thing in the morning when participants check their mobile device over toast and a coffee, in bed just before lights out, or in the queue to buy a sandwich at lunch.

  1. Make it simple and linear

It’s important to remember that there are a whole host of companies competing for the attention and loyalty of your channel partners, so your brand and program needs to stand out from the crowd. One often massively overlooked method of ensuring an advantage is simplicity. All rules and time frames should be clearly defined and easy to follow. And all the different parts of a campiagn need to be clearly linked to one another. How do you link them?

  • They should all have the same look and feel – they should sing your brand
  • There should be clear links between different sections so that they flow in a linear fashion

Think of chess pieces – the pieces may be different but they’re all the same colour, so it’s easy to see how the game is progressing, and how the movement of each piece affects the others.

  1. Make content quick and easy to consume

Channel marketing has seen a powerful shift away from a sell, sell, sell mentality, toward what is known as “incentive engineering” – influencing pre and post sale behaviors which will ultimately enhance sales and business performance. For more information about this, take a look at our blog post on incentive engineering.

These ‘soft’ behaviors, such as training and courses, can be provided in bitesize chunks which can be consumed in and around participants’ busy day to day lives. Nowadays people turn to their phones at every hour – waiting for a bus, in a lift or during their lunch break. Make them turn to your content to while away those twilight moments, because it’s engaging, fun and contributes to their self-development.

  1. Tailor and personalize promotions

You need to give your channel partners customized offers based on 100 degree data about their tastes, demographic and history. What has engaged them in the past? Utilize this valuable information to pinpoint the resources, activities, offers and rewards that will stimulate them best – these will ultimately be your path to success.

To get this right, you need strong automated incentive management software which can capture and sort through complex data on channel partners and that's capable of creating customizable programs with tailored rules that directly suit their individual interests. To find out more about the importance of technology, check out our blog post which covers the topic in detail.