Hacks to make sure your marketing syndicate partners deliver!

Hacks to make sure your marketing syndicate partners deliver as promised.

Budgets are often shrinking, or so we are told. At the same time the need to get net new leads never ceases. If anything, there is an urgency to get them fast. Marketing syndicate partner collab is the one trick marketers have in their back pocket, which can make your budgets go much further to add net new leads into the database. But it often comes with a huge risk – ‘the inevitable question – What if’? What if they don’t deliver the right quality of leads, what if the leads from this syndicate don’t exactly match our user profile, what if I burn out all that precious budget only in vain to realize there were no real MQLs! Sounds like a bad dream. Worry not!

You got to have a structured approach to ensure the marketing syndicate that you choose is aligned to your campaign goals while using the resources available to you. Here’s a checklist to help you chose the syndicate partner that’s right for your campaign.

Define your goals clearly: State the objectives you aim to achieve with this campaign clearly. Whether it is reducing costs, increasing traffic, downloads, visits, sign ups, surveys taken, emails read etc. Identify by how many? Communicate the numbers upfront. Clarify the factors that may affect achieving these numbers too – there will be controllables and incontrollables. Identify what is the intent of the audience you want to target, this is to help you develop assets that complement the efforts of your syndicate partner. This step is as important as finding the right syndicate for your campaign. Having at least two-three assets, in different formats is a great idea to be able to swap in case audience behavior deviates from what was assumed. Of course thumb rule is do not assume – use data to back up your actions.

Carry out your market research: You will get syndicate partners a dime a dozen, who will try to sell you everything under the sun – use caution. Shortlist those in your sectors, check their success stories, understand their work along with what were the factors that led their previous campaigns to succeed. Once you know that, identify the potential criteria that they should meet before taking on your project; for example, their industry expertise, financial stability, target market alignment and equally important – cultural fit. No one wants the torture of working on a frustrating project just because we have paid for it – serves no one!

Network, network and more network: This could be an extension of the above – part of market research. Attend industry events and conferences to network with peers and leaders in the industry, even if they are across multiple sectors. Hear their recommendations and stories and make an informed decision. While these are in-person efforts, remember online channels too. Websites like LinkedIn, PartnerUp and similar industry specific platforms are a great way to connect with potential syndicate partners, research their expertise and get reviews. After all when you have a finite marketing budget, you got to tread carefully.

Create clear communication: Often projects fail because there is lack of clear, concise communication. Appoint people that will be accountable for actions – on your side as well as at the syndicate’s end. Establish clear communication channels, ensure there is transparency between syndicate partners and your own team. Set up a matrix of recurring meetings, regular reporting and consistent feedback. This will ensure the project proceeds steadily in the right direct with necessary pivots with agility.

Measuring and evaluation: The last but a key stage of any campaign, is the performance measurement against set objectives. If you have set up clear objectives, you will know how successful the syndicate has been in achieving them. This is not just at the end of a campaign but also at regular intervals during one. Check the criteria that were set up while qualifying leads by the syndicate and measure how effective they were. Measure their effectiveness regularly and amend them as you go – remember audience behavior changes and you can never exactly point out how the audience will react to your assets. Even if you are using well tested communication channels, in today’s age of over communication we have content fatigue. If an ebook has worked well for one set of audience mid funnel, it does not confirm that it will be exactly the same pattern time and again. Effective measurement and objective feedback will foster mutually beneficial collaboration between you and your syndicate partner.

The end is really not the end: Getting quality leads from marketing syndicate partners is not the end of a campaign, but in fact the start of one. What do you want these hot new leads to do once they have been served on a platter to you? Don’t let them get cold and stale. Engage, nurture and scintillate! Make sure you have nurture programs ready to add these leads to, where they continue their journey with you. If you know B2B, everything is long winded and complex with multiple stakeholders that have their hand in the purse. It’s often rare for a lead to want to jump on a demo call right after reading a whitepaper! Set up nurtures to educate them about their own problems and how you can solve them. If you have heard their needs and pain points well and if you have shown them how you will find them a solution, then they will sit up and listen.

If you want to read about how to build efficient lead nurture campaigns to engage your audience better, check out my blog.