Many point of sale (POS) and payments resellers don’t see themselves as marketing experts. Most VARs would admit marketing isn’t in their wheelhouse, and based on past experience, marketing mistakes have resulted in less-than-favorable return on investment. The problem is, however, marketing is necessary to the growth of your business. You provide exceptional solutions, customer service, and industry expertise, but no one except your current customers (and maybe not even all of them) knows it.
Wipe the slate clean and get ready to take a different approach to marketing by avoiding these five marketing mistakes you’ve probably made, but didn’t even realize how much they were hurting your business.
At least some of your vendor partners offer market development funds (MDF). The vendor’s motivation is to more widely market their products and increase brand awareness, but also to help your business thrive—when your business is booming, they see more sales as well. The terms of qualifying and applying for MDF vary from vendor to vendor, but taking time to understand the programs can pay off with marketing funds that will help you update your website, freshen marketing materials, and move campaigns forward.
A common marketing mistake is to apply for MDF without first developing a comprehensive marketing plan. Your chances of being approved will be greatly increased if the vendor can see the value of the activity you are planning as it pertains to your overall goals. The application process and required documentation may take some time, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply and run the risk that other VARs have claimed the current allocation.
You may have been discouraged in the past that a marketing campaign didn’t result in the return on investment (ROI) you were expecting. Did you base that conclusion on the numbers? Your campaigns need to have specific goals and an element of measurability—e.g., website clicks, email opens, new leads—so you can truly get a sense of their effectiveness. It’s a serious marketing mistake to only trust a sense of “how you think it went.” It’s a wiser strategy to draw fact-based conclusions and make adjustments for the next campaign. Moreover, without proof of ROI, you won’t be able to provide the data your vendor partner is looking for if the campaign was funded by MDF. Be realistic with the goals you set—use marketing benchmarks for POS and payment solutions providers if you don’t have in-house data—but above all, track results.
Your vendor partners invest a great deal of strategy, time and resources into developing marketing materials. If your status as a partner allows it, cobrand these materials and use them in your own marketing and sales activities. This saves the expense of having to create brochures, catalogs, e-books, etc. on your own. Using cobranded materials allows you to retain your marketing budget for additional projects, and you also have the assurance that the messaging in these materials is vendor-approved. If you haven’t asked your vendor partners if you can utilize materials they have already created, that’s a call you need to make today.
VARs often have limited time to spend on marketing, but a must-have asset is an up-to-date website. Take a critical look at your website. Is the information current, is the design responsive for your mobile users, and does it have visual appeal? Prospects won’t accept the excuse that you didn’t have time. An outdated, subpar website can cost you sales and new customers.
If you aren’t marketing to your existing customer base, you are guilty of making the biggest marketing mistake POS and payment solutions providers make. Do your current customers know the full breadth of your products and services? Have you talked with them about how additional solutions that you offer could benefit their businesses? Do they know the new solutions you have begun offering? Don’t wait for the next solution refresh. Reach out to them today.
Rethink Your Priorities
Marketing must be an ongoing activity. If you wait for a lull in other activities to devote time to marketing, you’ve waited too long—marketing can be a defense against lulls occurring in the first place. Be disciplined about keeping your website and materials up to date, leveraging resources and MDF from your vendor partners, and marketing to your existing customers. Fuel your business with these marketing activities and watch your business grow.