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Extend ZMOT to Your Partner Communication

Indeed, the various social media and volume of communication is confounding and overwhelming at times, especially in the B2B arena. Yet, to sit on the sidelines is akin to extinction. Better to embrace your inner Darwin and the new world order for its power to transform how we learn, communicate and acquire products and services.

To that end, many marketing leaders have bought into the ideas behind the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) espoused by Google, in terms of being there for customers at just the right decision time. Little of it, however, extends to how we communicate with our partners.

And, so, to the matter at hand, allow me to extrapolate liberally and share five tips for extending ZMOT to your partner communication:

  • Variety is the Spice of Life. Embrace and utilize the various media. Partners learn and digest information in a variety of ways, just like customers. YouTube and Skype are common vehicles for tapping into visual learning styles; Podcasts allow you to reach your partners during their morning commute. Let your partners choose which medium suits them best.
  • Still, You Need a Safe Haven. By this we mean your password-protected partner web site. So often this site becomes a museum for everything the company has ever produced. Partners give up on using it because it takes too much time to find relevant information quickly. Invest in your partner portal as a dynamic, searchable, repository. Your partners will applaud your respect of their time. Moreover, ensure it is accessible and optimized for mobile device access.
  • Avoid the Snooze-Letter. Pushing a newsletter out to your partners periodically is a tried and true way to keep your brand in front of them. Too often, however, the newsletter is used as a tome for everything that’s happened over the last month. and getting through the first paragraph is like, well, my son reading the Scarlett Letter. You are competing with myriad other vendors and products for your partner’s attention. Net it out. Spice it up. Tell stories. Entertain. Then, move on.
  • Frequency Over Volume. Learn to educate and inspire your partners to sell on your behalf in the least amount of time, words, and complexity. Smaller chunks of content delivered in periodic bursts are easy to digest. You can always attach a link to the ever-well-organized partner portal for more information, rather than dumping every detail in their lap about a new promotion.
  • Get Personal. Communicate to each of your audiences about the topics of interest to them. A Partner’s CEO does not need to know about your product level promotions, but the VP of Sales likely cares a lot. It sounds obvious, but don’t send your partner information about a product they are not authorized to sell, unless of course, you are working to recruit them to do so. The more segmented your communication, the more likely it is to be read. There are all kinds of tools used in the customer world for reaching your customers online (plug for Google Analytics); why not use them for your partners too?
  • Communicating in today’s environment challenges traditional mores around planning and “controlling the message.” Simply put, asynchronous and mobile communication is messy and uncomfortable. Yet, to sit it out is not an option, so what are you going to do to get in Z game?


    February 1, 2013  ·  

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