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January 10, 2019
Every channel partner has a list of priorities. Take a moment and picture them in your head. Is marketing somewhere in there? If so, how high up on the list is it?
In a survey conducted by OneAffiniti, data show that only 23 percent of partners report accessing a brand-provided marketing platform on a monthly basis in the past year, with many partners saying they simply don’t have enough time or bandwidth to really sink their teeth into a marketing platform.
In fact, more than half of partners said that they haven’t engaged or stayed with a platform because it was too time-consuming or they lacked the resources and bandwidth to really run with and maintain it. Even further, 14 percent of partners said they didn’t see the value in the marketing platform to begin with.
Clearly there’s a gap here.
Chris Jowsey, CMO at OneAffiniti, speaks to the conversations he’s had with partners.
OneAffiniti’s Chris Jowsey
“We started off asking questions about budget and the priority of marketing in relation to other parts of their business, and it became quite clear that there is a real disconnect among channel partners regarding support around marketing,” says Jowsey. “These programs are very much underutilized because they are too high-maintenance for channel partners, and there just isn’t the time or bandwidth.”
The types of partners that OneAffiniti works with typically have around 10-15 employees, and any marketing duties are often left to someone in an administrative role, or someone with some background in sales who has dabbled in marketing in the past. Often though, there simply isn’t a dedicated resource for such campaigns and initiatives. Partners might dip their toes into the marketing pool every so often, but the consistency required to drive any sort of tangible results is sorely lacking.
“When we look at partner spend, we see that marketing is often reduced to a one-time campaign, or bits and pieces here and there, but never a consistent driving of marketing to get consistent results,” says Jowsey. “A brand might offer a marketing portal for partners to be able to access campaigns, but again, the issue of time and bandwidth makes it hard for anything to really develop. Essentially, brands are spending a lot of money developing assets and collateral, but they are not able to find effective ways of helping partners actually execute.”
Jowsey says where a lot of partners get disheartened with marketing is the lack of results in a short amount of time. They might have a campaign that runs for a few months, say, on Google, but because they don’t get the results they were hoping for in the short term, many lose momentum,” shares Jowsey.
OneAffiniti’s Joel Montgomery
OneAffiniti’s 2018 Pulse of the Channel survey (three surveys collected information from 507 North American IT channel partners) shows that many partners are, in fact, pretty keen to receive more marketing support from brands. This means that there’s a big opportunity for vendors to really help their channel partners with programs that are user-friendly.
“The lack of utilization indicates that the marketing support available to partners does not align with the majority of channel partners’ needs,” said OneAffiniti founder and CEO, Joel Montgomery. “And yet, the desire and demand for marketing support among partners clearly exists. Brands and their marketing partners need to do more to help partners achieve their marketing goals.”
There’s plenty of room for brands to help partners use marketing platforms more effectively and efficiently. Montgomery urges brands to challenge the norm and explore options to drive dramatically higher platform utilization through a through-channel marketing system, one that takes the guesswork out of things, allowing for partners to actually and truly participate in brand-provided marketing efforts.
Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.
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