When evaluating your channel marketing program’s performance, you need a way to evaluate how individual channel partners’ marketing acumen affects revenue.
In 2019, we introduced The BrandMuscle® Local Marketing Maturity Matrix™, a proven framework and formula for identifying the factors that have the greatest impact on channel marketing program performance and revenue growth. For The State of Local Marketing Report 2021-2022, we added a new dimension, Marketing Savvy, to evaluate individual partners’ marketing maturity, independent of the channel marketing program provided by the brand.
One key point our data shows is that partners at the highest level of marketing maturity demonstrate two times higher year-over-year revenue growth compared to those in the bottom levels of maturity. Through the additional lens of Marketing Savvy, we unveiled an even deeper understanding of the partner spectrum to help brands prioritize and focus their attention and resources on the areas of their channel marketing program that negatively impact their partners’ ability to participate and grow revenue. Growing revenue is the goal, for both brands and partners. Through The State of Local Marketing data collected by surveying thousands of channel partners across numerous large national brands, we have uncovered a way to audit program offerings. When we evaluate channel marketing programs’ performance through our Local Marketing Maturity Matrix™, we can identify barriers to partner participation and opportunities for brands to help partners improve ROI and drive revenue.
What Is a Marketing Maturity Model?
A marketing maturity model is a tool that assesses how effectively a system, process, or group of people helps a product perform in the marketplace, to identify ways to improve that performance. By structuring the model as overlapping spheres or tiers of effectiveness, a maturity model can better examine which components or capabilities of maturity work and which require improvement.
Companies have applied a maturity model to evaluate everything from product management’s effectiveness to the way marketing content gets created in a marketing department. Instead of a model, we at BrandMuscle call our maturity model a matrix and have applied the maturity framework to marketing acumen itself.
What the BrandMuscle® Local Marketing Maturity Matrix™ Achieves
Using real-world data and statistical analysis, the BrandMuscle Local Marketing Maturity Matrix maps the relationships between marketing competency, program offerings, and revenue growth across seven dimensions and competencies. The seven dimensions and competencies are: the Commitment dimension, the Strategic Focus dimension, the Content dimension, Administrative dimension, the Program dimension, the Enabler dimension, and now, Marketing Savvy.
- The Administration dimension measures how easy the brand makes it for local partners to get the most out of the channel marketing program. That includes resources and tools that make it easy to use the program, as well as tools to construct a more integrated marketing program.
- The Commitment dimension measures the extent of the partners’ commitment to leveraging the channel marketing program to support their business’ growth and how committed partners believe the brand is to the program.
- The Program dimension gauges local partners’ perception of the variety of program options offered, specific digital tactics offered, and the extent they feel the program is or can be integrated.
- The Strategic Focus dimension measures partners’ understanding and ability to perform the activities required to plan, build, and execute an effective marketing strategy.
- The Content dimension measures the extent to which content provided through the channel marketing program is perceived as being high-quality, creatively well designed, and relevant to local partners’ customers.
- The Marketing Savvy dimension categorizes partners based on their individual contributions to marketing activities and measures the marketing acumen of the channel marketing program and its offerings.
- Enablers are actions completely controlled by partners and highly predictive of success. More marketing mature partners demonstrate greater confidence in marketing actions and are more willing to invest their own funds in marketing efforts. They understand greater investment results in higher revenue growth.
Our data is clear: Partners at higher maturity levels tend to drive more revenue. Think about each dimension and your level of competency as building blocks in the pursuit for local marketing maturity.
Why We Added the Marketing Savvy Dimension
We decided to add the Marketing Savvy dimension this year because the data makes it clear that partners can be marketing mature on their own, despite the quality and offerings of the channel marketing program. The focus on marketing by the individual partner helps them succeed even if channel marketing programs fail to provide basic marketing support. These partners are committed to achieving success for their own businesses, and this presents an opportunity for brands to understand what drives local success and how to improve support for these partners.
By looking at each dimension through the lens of Marketing Savvy, we can identify the hand-raisers within a partner network. These are partners who are looking for assistance, guidance, and support and are seeking more from the brand’s offerings. By reviewing results, we can identify their exact areas of need and can focus program resources on those areas that can quickly make an impact to partner perceptions and revenue potential.
The Marketing Savvy dimension includes four core competencies:
- Marketing Planning: the extent to which partners demonstrate usage of various fundamental practices like creating and managing a marketing plan.
- Digital Confidence: the integration of digital marketing tactics within the local partners’ marketing program, the extent to which they understand the tactics, and their level of confidence including them.
- Marketing Effort: focus on core marketing activities and dedicating sufficient time to those activities.
- Marketing Planning Cadence: extent to which marketing planning is a regularly scheduled, disciplined activity.
What the Marketing Savvy Dimension Reveals
Marketing Savvy partners understand the value of marketing efforts. They are more knowledgeable about marketing. This leads them to focus more time and money on marketing activities. 74% are reinvesting more than 1% of their revenue on marketing. They invest in marketing resources and spend more time on marketing activities than any other group. 91% spend more than 10 hours a month focused on marketing. Marketing Savvy partners have a greater understanding of marketing and possess a level of confidence in managing and executing digital tactics that goes beyond their peers.
Successful local channel programs should be looking to better support the needs of the most Marketing Savvy partners. They are already spending the time and effort on marketing. Brand should be focused on ensuring these partners and promoting their brands in those efforts. By providing the assets, funds, and executional solutions to support these partner marketing efforts, brands can ensure their products are promoted locally, extending reach and awareness.
But only a small percentage of local partners are marketing savvy. Many are not marketing experts. By using the Marketing Savvy dimension, brands can also identify the Least Savvy that are really looking for guidance. They want to participate. They are raising their hands, but there are challenges. Understanding their challenges and addressing those within the program with help unlock their revenue potential and create brand advocates in those local markets.
The good news for brands is that the data indicates both groups really are looking of the same things. Both want guidance. The Most Savvy want confirmation that their actions are right. The Least Savvy want to better understand how to invest their efforts. Second, they want it to be easy. Integration, streamlined processes, and do-it-for-me solutions reduce friction to participation and help both groups take advantage of the brand’s offerings.
How Marketing Savvy Are Your Partners?
When assessing Marketing Savvy, ask yourself a few basic questions:
- Does your channel marketing program categorize partners into tiers or groups?
- Are local partners offered tools, solutions, or alternative funding models based on their participation and engagement with the channel marketing program?
- Does the channel marketing program offer personalized support for partners seeking additional marketing assistance?
- How can BrandMuscle help improve your partners’ Marketing Maturity and move them up to the Most Savvy level?