Vendors have a wealth of resources available to help partners build their brand.

Buffy Naylor, Senior Managing Editor

November 1, 2023

3 Min Read
Vendor-partner marketing panel at CFLS 2023
Left to right at Channel Futures Leadership Summit, Nov. 1, 2023: Unusually Unusual Consulting's Amy Bailey, Telarus' Chad Dixon, Omdia's Debbie Kane and Lumen's Sam Sundstrom.

CHANNEL FUTURES LEADERSHIP SUMMIT — In today’s channel, partners are looking for marketing support and vendors are looking to partners to help them reach new markets. At the Channel Futures Leadership Summit on Wednesday, Amy Bailey of Unusually Unusual Consulting, channel marketer and consultant Chad Dixon, Debbie Kane of Omdia Research & Consulting Practice and Sam Sundstrom of Lumen Technologies (pictured above, left to right) sat down to discuss what partner need in just how channel partners can combine efforts to take on what Bailey described as the “very specific” challenges of channel marketing.

The keynote “Leading the Way with Marketing: The Channel Partner-Vendor Combination” offered insights on what sorts of help are available to partners, how they can ask for it and what vendors expect in return for providing it.

The panel agreed that social media is an essential tool for establishing and maintaining contact with clients and prospects,

“A lot of firms are having lot of success with social media,” said Sundstrom. “LinkedIn, in my opinion, is king in business. The power of social media is extending events out to the masses. Whether you’re throwing an event or any marketing activities, it’s those little genuine, authentic touchpoints are memorable moments that really resonate with people and make the biggest impact.”

Dixon echoed that sentiment, saying “Amplify your message. People are looking at social media as an opportunity to take whatever messaging they have and expand it tenfold. It’s probably the most cost-efficient way you can do so.”

Social media, networking and attending industry events were all listed as ways to extend reach without spending a lot of money.

Making the Most of MDF

And when partners do need to spend money, they can look to MDF. Bailey pointed out that it’s relatively easy to get funds once. But unless partners use those funds wisely, they may not be able to get them again.

“Know what you’re capable of and understand what you need to do to get the money and keep the money,” Kane advised. “If you don’t know, just ask for help.” On their part, Kane said, unless vendors need to get to really know their partners, they can’t provide them with the kind of support they need.

One of the most common uses of MDF is to stage events. “The easy part is producing the event,” said Sundstrom. “The most important part is what you do after the event.” Follow-up and carry-through are all important. For example, when events are filmed, highlights can be used on social media to continue the conversation and maintain touchpoints.

Vendors and partners alike should be clear on what is expected of them. “Set your expectations in advance,” said Bailey. “Find out what you need to deliver to make the event mutually beneficial.”

Beyond events, vendors can provide funding to help partners with everything from website design and email campaigns to custom content. The goal, however, is to demonstrate thought leadership and establish presence, not push product.

“I look at my team as trusted marketing experts,” said Sundstrom. “Our goal is to help partners sell and grow. We’ll get a piece of that pie. Partners can sell our solutions generically and then have product conversations later. We’ll do whatever we can to help you.”

“There is always going to be a hunger for assistance in building a brand,” said Dixon. “All TSDs have an opportunity to help you with that. We all want to see you grow.”

About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Senior Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is senior managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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