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

Twitter Newbie? – 10 Great Places to Find Your Followers

by channelmaven on September 18, 2014

Many feel the jury is still out on Twitter.  It can be an interesting social platform and when used correctly it can be an amazing tool for driving leads, engaging your audience, improving your website’s SEO and making connections. The key of course is: used correctly.

Twitter is a fire hose of information that never shuts off and is less personal than other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s a great place to get exposure for your content and distribute other people’s content to a wide range of audiences (aka followers). Some of these followers will be channel partners and vendors and some will become your follower simply because they find you interesting.

The-Growth-Of-Twitter-@raychno21-@designbysoap-Web-version2

Help! I’m being followed!

Those who follow you, do so for a number of reasons:

    • They want to do business with you
    • They want to work for you
    • They are interested in the topics you post about
    • You posted an article they thought was great and want to see what else you have to say
    • And more

Finding followers:

Follow people you have things in common with – there’s a common practice on Twitter: when you follow, they follow back. Like a hand shake at a networking event.

    1. Companies in your industry
    2. Companies that you support (other big tech companies or MSPs/VARs etc)
    3. Companies that support you (vendors you work with)
    4. Companies that support the channel (TheVarGuy, CompTIA, Channel Marketer Report)
    5. Places you like to get content from (Forbes, INC, CMO, HBR, ITWire)
    6. Places that hold your interests (hobbies)
    7. Charity initiatives you support
    8. Channel Chiefs and other movers and shakers in the channel
    9. “the” analysts – Gartner, SiriusDecisions, Forrester
    10. Your employees (they will help push out your content by retweeting)

Screenshot 2014-09-18 12.44.57

Followers you want most:

When you’re just starting out it can be a bit daunting to figure out how to find the folks you want to be connected to. Here are two types of followers you want to attract:

  • Those connected to The channel (relevant to your business)
  • Those who have a lot of followers (able to help spread your content farther netting more followers for you)

To get your Twitter engine humming, it will take some work, especially in the beginning. We suggest devoting at least 15-20 minutes each day to following other people and businesses, tweeting interesting articles and retweeting when something catches your eye.

Tip: While working on Twitter, notice the tweets that make you want to click them. Why? Because soon you’ll be writing your own tweets and knowing the secrets for how to write a good tweet will give you more traction faster.

Next time you’re at a channel event like CompTIA or Oracle Open World look for us at the Social Media Rally Station™. We’ll be the ones helping vendors and channel partners amp up the volume on social. Stop by and we’ll take your picture and analyze your social platforms for free!

Photo source: designbysoap

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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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