In the weeks since its debut, ChatGPT has set the internet abuzz. We decided to test the chatbot’s knowledge by putting it up against our partner marketing expert, Rick Currier, Foundry’s VP of US Sales & Partner Marketing. Here are ChatGPT’s top 7 predictions on “the future of technology partner marketing” and Rick’s reactions:

1. In the future, technology will play an increasingly important role in partner marketing. Some possible developments include increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize and optimize partner marketing efforts, such as targeting specific prospects with tailored messaging and incentives.

Rick’s reaction

Do we think the AI chat bot is a little biased? I think this prediction lends itself more to digital marketing and would be harder to execute across partner programs. Here at Foundry, we have an advanced ABM orchestration platform and intent platform to empower marketers to use advanced machine learning tools to optimize, personalize, and orchestrate campaigns down to the contact level. The challenge lies when we’re working with two or more marketing organizations (i.e., partners) trying to use such tools to coordinate on a single program. Usually, it is one partner taking lead on utilizing data to narrow down a target list and personalize messages. However, we work with marketers to use machine learning tools aimed at delivering specific outcomes in multi-partner programs. This creates a hands-off (easy button) approach with partners where we can use these tools to deliver the desired outcomes (usually around Intent) to help produce pipeline results for the partner. Until we can find an easier way for multiple partners to combine and act on different data sets, it will likely be one main partner taking the lead on AI/ML technologies.

2. Greater use of virtual and augmented reality in partner marketing campaigns to create more engaging and immersive experiences for customers and partners.

Face to face events play a big part of the Partner Marketing playbook. To understand more of where and how VR is playing a role in the partner marketing events strategy, I turned to Foundry’s Global VP of Events, Chris Ritchie. Here is what Chris had to say: The future of VR/AR is already a reality. While it can be cost prohibitive to do at scale, I do expect that this current challenge may be soon overcome with advances in technology that drive costs down. At the most recent CIO 100 Awards & Symposium, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories, an award winner, showcased and built out a metaverse. Within their VR/AR immersive experience, my perception changed from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ when they specifically highlighted certain value and benefits, that far outweigh the costs of implementation. When it comes to building engagement and networking through events, I do envision a future where organizations and leaders are able to achieve this wherever they are by leveraging VR/AR to achieve the same outcome.

3. More emphasis on digital channels such as social media, email, and video conferencing to connect with partners and customers in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Doesn’t really seem like much of a prediction, does it? I think we’ve all been video-conferenced and emailed to death, which is why a swing back to in-person events, and meetings is welcomed. What I do find interesting about this is the “connect” part of this prediction. In our 2022 Partner Marketing Benchmark Study, we found that executives are putting more emphasis on partner relationships, with 59% of respondents using strong partnership relations as a measure for success. No matter how you communicate with partners, I think finding a low cost and easy way to stay connected is key. Just don’t stalk me on Facebook, please!

4. Greater use of automation and real-time data analysis to optimize and measure the performance of partner marketing programs, and to quickly respond to changing market conditions.

This has been the era of digital transformation and data is king. But getting data back from partners on co-funded programs has been a consistent challenge for many partner marketers (what were the results? Did we generate pipeline? Etc.). I’m seeing more marketers plan multi-partner programs where they’re in control from planning to execution (including reporting). Not only can they design a program for partners to opt-in, but they can have free access to the data analysis and reporting. For those continuing to give out MDF, we see Partner Portals playing a key role. Getting partners to engage with portals has always been tricky, so focusing on ways to automate and optimize the portals to make it easier and more efficient for partners to act is invaluable.

5. More emphasis on creating compelling and differentiated content to stand out in a crowded and highly competitive partner marketing landscape.

According to Foundry’s 2022 Customer Engagement research, 91% of buyers say it’s challenging to find high-quality content. Too many marketers ignore the quality of their content when focusing on driving demand. If someone downloads your white paper and becomes a lead and they stop reading after the first paragraph, your sales team is going to have a really hard time engaging that lead and turning it into an opportunity. That’s why we see so many partner marketing demand generation initiatives come with the request of creating co-branded content based on independent, third-party research with audiences like Content is a great way to stand out in a highly competitive market and help improve your pipeline efforts.

6. Greater use of analytics and data visualization tools to measure and analyze the performance of partner marketing efforts and to make informed decisions.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? The interesting part about measuring and analyzing performance is how partner marketers can tie it back to their original intent. Back to the Partner Marketing Benchmark, we found that only 58% of respondents had a documented partner marketing strategy in place, but those that did, 84% felt their programs were incredibly effective (compared to 45% of those without a documented strategy). The key is to not only have a documented strategy in place, but to use the analytics and data visualization tools to help illustrate the success of the partner marketing strategy based on the program results.

7. Growth of the partnership ecosystem, where partners are not just reselling or referring products but also co-developing and co-marketing products.

Well let’s just save the best for last! This will be the key driver in the future of partner marketing and I think ChatGPT nailed it. As more and more executives realize the power and success of partner marketing, we will start seeing a shift from the traditional reseller/channel efforts of partner marketing to more value-driven partnerships. I see this accelerating as more partner marketers get put into technology leadership positions across the organization.  

Rick’s conclusion
While I am impressed with ChatGPT’s vast and fluent output, it lacks the nuance and expertise that we’ve come to rely on as partner marketers. Until it can understand the granularities of our unique challenges, I will stick with trading best practices and predictions with partner marketers over a cup of coffee or evening cocktail.  

Want to learn more about how Foundry combines media properties, people-based data and software to fully address needs of partners marketers from brand to demand? Contact us today.

About Foundry Global Partner Marketing Solutions Our dedicated Global Partner Solutions practice can help you navigate the unique and complex challenges of partner marketing, and help you drive positive business outcomes through collaboration. By implementing practical strategies and leading-edge marketing solutions, we help you elevate and communicate the value of your partnerships and drive return on investment. We can be there every step of the way from messaging, content, strategy and production services.

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