Channel Maven Consulting
Channel Maven Consulting

Who is Channel Maven Consulting?

Call us crazy. We’ll admit, we’re a little off our rocker with passion for making channel marketing teams succeed. That’s just what happens when you get a team of strategic channel experts working to understand individual client’s channel marketing and communications goals. What we really want is for you to see what happens when we help drive more effective relationships “to” and “through” your partners. LEARN MORE »

From Our Blog

The Incredible Bongo Man: Marketing Tips from a Street Performer

by channelmaven on September 11, 2014

Channel Maven’s newest addition, McNall Mason joined us in August. Here’s her take on some marketing lessons learned on the streets:

I used to live in Asheville, NC. It’s a cool place. I highly recommend it as a travel destination but don’t move there unless you’re bringing your job. In Asheville, good paying jobs are hard to find. Aside from being smack-dab in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, what makes Asheville so cool is the focus on the arts, music, crafts, galleries, culinary arts and local goodies like homegrown beer and Lusty Monk Mustard.

Asheville-The-Paris-of-the-South-700x466
Asheville has a lot of street performers. A 10 yr. old saxophonists, a lady who covers herself in silver paint and robotically plays the snare drum every time someone puts a dollar in her bucket, mimes, hoola-hoopers, a guy who rides a 44 foot tall bike, you name it they’re in Asheville and they’re fun to watch.

2

I don’t live in Asheville anymore, I live in the Seattle area now. Equally cool, artsy, foodie and flush with street performers, especially near Pike Place Market. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a street musician named Jack who plays the bongos. We were standing in line at Starbucks and started chatting. He mentioned that he’d just bought a new car… with the proceeds from his drumming business. It wasn’t just “a” car, it was a $40,000-ish car. I was impressed for sure but mostly it struck me as odd.

3

The idea that Jack could make a living as a bongo drummer on the streets of Seattle never dawned on me. Starving artist? Yep. Barely making enough to buy a pack of gum? Sure. But making a living, buying a car, treating it as a J.O.B?! Dreams like that are staples of childhood, not a career. (Just ask my mom!)

I left Starbucks, Americano in hand, and began wondering: what, if anything, can I learn about marketing from street performers? That’s where I embarked on the journey that introduced me to Max.

“My relationship to groceries is directly related to how much I earn as a street musician.” - Max Judelson, Street Cellist, Boston.

No big surprise, being a successful street musician is more involved than just pulling up a piece of cement and attracting the masses. In fact, it’s a lot like the rest of life and most jobs. If you want the pay and accolades, you have to be good at it. Just getting by doesn’t earn you a nice car. This epiphany was brought to you by 10-rules for Street Musicians an article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s the story of Boston Street Musician Max Judelson who plays cello in the subway.

5

Most of the article is marketing basics. Day and time of day factor in and if you’re in front of customers, it matters what you wear. Who frequents your corner, where your corner is (location, location, location) and looking people in the eye all matter as does consistency in performance style and showing up regularly. Sound advice for sure and all worthy of consideration.

In the end this disruptive concept is the nugget of knowledge I set out to find:

Boston street cellist, Max, listens to Marketplace Morning Report on NPR before he heads out to play. He doesn’t personally care about the stock market, he does it because the ups and downs of the market impact his income.

Over time, he noticed that market flux impacts the mood of the passers-by and so does music. When the market is down, the mood is down. Upbeat music can lighten the mood. Upbeat folks give more money and linger longer to listen. Wha-lah!

That’s subtle and brilliant. It speaks to noticing cause and effect in non-typical ways, comprehending your customer at a level they might not even be aware of and using those conclusions to your benefit. And in case that’s not enough goodness, it also demonstrates a desire to intentionally prepare for the best day possible. We need more of all that.

(Understanding + Empathy) + Observation = Success

We’re not street performers, at least not for a living. We’re in the channel but still we can reengineer and repurpose Max’s philosophy and use it to our advantage. Let’s start by dissecting the important components.

1. Understanding: Know the type of person seeking your products or services. Who is your buyer? Where do they go to find you? In B2B, think about the role a person holds in a company. Who are they and what are their functions? Answer that and you will begin to understand their personality, how their days unfold and what their priorities are.

2. Empathy: Now you have a good idea of who they are but, how do they feel? What’s their pain point, what information do they need in order to make an informed decision? If you were in their shoes, what key words would you search for, where would you find the information you need? Often websites talk about how great their product/service is and how much the buyer needs it. If that website was a person, would you be excited to start a conversation with them? Answer those questions and you begin to see how to build an online presence that speaks directly to your buyer’s needs instead of your needs.

3. Observation: Understanding and empathizing inform the observation process. When a buyer finds you online, your ability to make a personal impact suffers. You don’t have the chance to ask why they came to your site and left immediately or where they went. Analytics and other demographics can highlight the patterns in visitor’s behavior. Once you see to the patterns you can “play to your audience” like Max does.

Max is dependent on relationships and the channel, no matter your role, is also dependent on relationships.

If understanding, empathy and observation are keys to making relationships better then we can all benefit from paying attention to the needs of those we serve. It makes no difference if you’re a vendor looking to onboard partners, a partner looking to sell more or a marketing consultant looking to help, you simply can’t go wrong when you think like your customer.

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3 Proven First Steps to Increase Lead Generation in the Channel

by Heather K. Margolis on September 4, 2014

It’s no secret we’re passionate about Channel Marketing. I mean, it’s practically our middle name. We’re very excited to be guest blogging and speaking on a webinar with the team at Zift.

Check out our blog post 3 Proven First Steps to Increase Lead Generation in the Channel today. Also, don’t forget to tune in September 10th at 1:00 ET for our webinar

I look forward to seeing you there!

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5 Ways to Keep the Blog Engine Running

by Heather K. Margolis on September 2, 2014

At least once a week I describe myself as the cobbler with bad shoes. We talk everyday to clients on the vendor and partner side about using social and blogs to better engage their audience. We help curate content, stay relevant and engage your audience members. Sometimes that means we fall down on our own. I’m all about admitting our mistakes and figuring out how to be better next time. Looking back we haven’t done a blog post in a month…yes a month, not the once a week we strive for. Vacation this, client project that, excuses are just that, excuses. So here are some suggestions on how to be more timely and not let your blog get stale.

1. Stockpile: Get 4-6 blog posts in the inventory so that when you have a busy week (or four) you’re able to pull from your inventory. Make sure it’s evergreen so you’re not talking about Heart-bleed (I know remember that?) six months after it’s relevant.

2. Guest Bloggers: Reach out to some of your partners and see who has an idea for a blog post they could contribute. The good news is you can both blog about the same topic on each others blog post and as long as it’s not identical you have to do very little work to create a post.

3. Mini-blogs: Twitter introduced us to the micro-blog. All your thoughts in 140 characters. While generally we shoot for 350-600 words in a blog post if you have something going on that you simply want to point to for reference that can be a mini-blog. A simple blog post in 100-200 words.

4. Editorial Response: We’re all reading a ton of information online. Some we agree with, some we don’t and some we’re in-between. A great way to compile more interesting blog content is to simply give a short response and point to the original article.

5. Ghost Blogger: When really in doubt if you’re team isn’t able to get a post at least every other week then reach out and ask for help. Make sure your ghost blogger understands your voice and your opinion and please, please, please make sure you review the post.

I hope this has been helpful and I plan to take my own advise starting immediately! Anything else I missed? Any suggestions on what you’d like to hear more about from Channel Maven?

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Women in Technology

by Channel Maven on July 23, 2014

In today’s day and age, we’d like to think that women and men are equal, especially in the workforce. While there is some distinction across different industries and fields, both genders should be able to hold equal stance, right? Unfortunately, this is not true for the present day technology industry, where women only make up only 28% of the IT workforce, compared to the 72% that are men.

This is particularly interesting, considering that a higher percentage of women enter into universities than men, however only 18% of those are graduate with IT degrees. It’s not that the interest is not there, 95% of young women say that they like and are interested in technology, but only 9% of those say they definitely want to pursue an technology career. So what can we do to encourage the female youth (who have interest in the technology sector) to pursue a career in IT?

What Makes a Career in IT so Attractive?

In the somewhat still turbulent economy we have, the IT force can offer security that many other industries and positions cannot. The unemployment rate in IT is a low 2.9%, compared to the general rate of 6.7%. Additionally, 79% of women who are currently in positions in the industry say they feel a sense of accomplishment, versus the 74% of men that do. The field currently has nothing but opportunities, with over 500,000 position openings and salaries that compete at twice the amount of the national salary, a whopping $76,000 versus $35,000.

The industry, contrary to popular belief, offers a wide variety of sub-fields and positions, including: analyst coder, consultant, CIO, software support, web-design, solution provider, developer, customer service, content manager, programer, etc.

Why We Need to Encourage Women to Enter into/Stay in the IT Industry?

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there will be almost 1.5 million computer related jobs available by 2020; furthermore, they also estimate based off current circumstance, that our country will only be able to fill 30% of these positions. Around 56% of women in tech leave their companies half way through careers, making their attrition rate twice that of men. Reducing this rate by only 25% would add more than 200,000 workers back into the industry. Entering into a career in the IT industry,or maintaining one to reach high level positions and management, would also allow women to make a difference in leadership.

At a low 22%, the United States is also falling behind most of the countries in the world in terms of women in leadership roles. 53% of women who are currently in IT, make up entry level positions, 45% of managers are women, 30% are directors, 27% VP’s, 24% SVP’s and 19% of C Suite roles are women. IT is the perfect way for women to get their foot into the door and change this and the balance of the industry as well.

How Can We Encourage Women in IT Careers & Leadership Roles for Women?

We need to encourage women to not only work in the IT field, but to lead it as well. So what can those in tech do to help?

  • Offer classes to train and develop tech skills
  • Encourage one another by keeping track of internal and external accomplishments
  • Initiate company recognition and incentive programs
  • Encourage the next generation by equipping members of the technology industry to go into schools and communities to educate young women about
  • Promote from within

Establishing strong, hardworking women leaders will increase not only the number of women in technology, but will also encourage those in the field to continue their careers and thus climb the ladder into higher leadership roles. In turn, this will successively start the steps to ameliorate the U.S.’s deficiency of women in leadership roles as well. Overall it is a win win.

It’s great being a part of Baptie’s Women’s Leadership Council and CompTIA’s Advancing Women In Technology to bring more of these issues and solutions to light.

What are some of your ideas to encourage those young women thinking about a career in tech? What is your encouragement towards those women already in the field who are thinking of leaving it? Comment below and let us know!

A special thanks to Nancy Hammervik, whom Heather had the pleasure of meeting at Baptie’s Channel Focus Women Leadership Council event in April, as well as CompTIA  for educating us on Women in Technology.

Photo source: Tech Cocktail

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