Technology in Through-Channel Marketing: Balancing Automation and Human Support

The 21st century has brought on some of the world’s most impressive innovations in technology. From the on-set of touch-screen smartphones, to the rapid immersion of the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s no question that information is more streamlined and accessible now than ever before. The rise of omni-connected data has allowed the volume of information shared to increase beyond human comprehension. With the rapid growth of technology, automation is quickly becoming a powerful tool used by some of the world’s most successful marketers. But what role does automation have in a through-channel marketing program that is traditionally managed by real, live humans? In this article, we will discuss how it’s important to strike a healthy balance between automation and human support, and how each can play an integral role in the success of your marketing program.

Integrating automation with your through-channel program

Unfortunately, we have seen first-hand the shortcomings of antiquated systems and processes, and the impact such programs may have on a brand and its channel partners – often leading to frustration, dissatisfaction, and even a lack of willingness to participate. This only hurts the brand and channel partner in the long run. Cooperate used these insights to develop a tool from the ground up that utilizes cutting-edge technology and allows your co-op or MDF program to live online via a mobile-compliant, responsive system that functions as the central depository for all prior approvals, claims, funds, reports, reconciliation, and creative assets. Our proprietary platform – the Co-op Resource Center (CRC) – is built for the 21st century, and relies on a level of automation for certain tasks that play an integral role in making your through-channel program turn-key and efficient for not only your brand but also for your partners. Some automated highlights include the reconciliation of claims and fund balances, email notifications to report prior approval and claim status, and a duplicate claim and invoice tracker. The CRC is designed to take the guesswork out of the equation and eliminate time-consuming, manual processes while further providing protection against human-error. Additional automated upgrades are available upon request including digital asset customization and localized media planning/buying. All feature sets are built with an eye toward optimized UX, thereby enabling your channel partners to navigate your brand’s co-op or MDF program in just a few clicks.

Superior customer service: the key to success

As you may have guessed, technology is only half of the equation. In order for your through-channel program to be great, it must put an emphasis on providing a level of human-touch that automation simply can’t replicate. That’s why we have a team of experts who work behind the scenes, interacting with your channel partners on a daily basis to provide live management and oversight at a level of service unsurpassed by any in the industry – what we refer to as our concierge “white glove” treatment. It’s important to keep in mind that your channel partners are real, live people who have come to rely on your co-op or MDF program to advertise and sell their goods/services. When an issue, question, or additional request arises that requires immediate attention, it’s refreshing to pick up the phone or communicate via email with a support team that’s made up of living, breathing through-channel brand experts that can help your partners navigate any situation, rather than dealing with an automated bot or call-prompt that spits out canned-responses. Not only does this exceed expectations, but provides an unmatched level of service that your channel partners deserve.

In Conclusion

Our team knows what it takes to build an industry-leading through-channel marketing program. A technology-focused approach and unparalleled live support are crucial to the success of any program, but achieving the right balance of high-tech and high-touch can be challenging. Contact Cooperate today for a complimentary checkup, and we are happy to provide some ideas on how to further optimize and enhance your through-channel program.

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