I recently had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable dinner discussion which included senior partner marketers from Adobe, AWS, NetApp, Outsystems, PureStorage, Salesforce and SoftwareOne . In a thought-leading discussion moderated by Foundry’s Consulting Editor Martin Veitch, we discussed how to navigate and succeed with partner marketing in today’s more challenging economic landscape.

We are thrilled to share the insights into common challenges and provide a perspective with best practices that can improve the effectiveness of partner marketing.

In response to uncertain times shaped by geopolitics and tech changes, marketers are focusing on specialization, teaming up with partners to better understand customers, and prioritizing community collaboration. Partner marketing allows for deeper engagement within existing accounts, aiming to tap into additional potential rather than solely pursuing new clients. This approach aims to uncover competitive advantages and enhance understanding of the customer base.

The impact of Gen AI

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT offer significant potential but shouldn’t be viewed as the ultimate solution for all marketing needs. While these tools can efficiently summarize, draft plans, or outline ideas, they’re not a universal remedy for content or automation. Future advancements in AI analytics are expected to enhance customer understanding and predictive capabilities. Despite the high demand for content, emphasis should be placed on quality and differentiation rather than solely quantity.

Deeper customer insights with intent data

Intent data and its associated tools significantly influence partner marketing relationships by enabling a deeper understanding of customer needs and timing. This data helps in aligning partner efforts with customer demands and preferences. Collaborating with third-party agencies serves as a quicker route to success by leveraging their expertise. Partner marketing and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) share a common goal of illuminating customer preferences and tailoring services accordingly, relying on informed decision-making for better customer outcomes.

Internally and externally, partner marketing faces several challenges:

  1. Regional differences: execution speed can vary due to fragmentation in language, culture, and currency, making it tougher in Europe/EMEA compared to the US/North America.
  2. US-Centric focus: many tech companies primarily concentrate on the US market, leading to potential communication gaps and a lack of focus on other markets.
  3. Building long-term relationships: partnering difficulties arise when key personnel change roles or depart, impacting the effectiveness of agreements and sometimes rendering them less valuable than promised.
  4. KPI Focus vs. closing deals: a shift from focusing solely on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) towards evaluating the actual progress in closing deals is necessary.
  5. CFO resistance: convincing financial decision-makers of the clear Return on Investment (ROI) in partner marketing efforts remains a hurdle.
  6. Attribution challenges: identifying the contributions of different marketing efforts towards sales and complying with legal constraints in sharing customer information poses challenges.
  7. Sales-Marketing alignment: collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing departments are vital; however, there can still be disparities in perception, data interpretation, and goal setting.
  8. Divergent goals: misalignment in goals between sales and marketing teams can lead to varied behaviors, affecting overall performance.

The over-arching theme is clear, the hurdles we encounter are not unique to any one organization; they are shared experiences that bind us together. Through these sessions, our goal is to provide authentic value and encourage the sharing of insights within the partner marketing community. We will be delighted host you and hear from you during the future sessions in 2024. Should you wish to join and contribute, I invite you to reserve a seat at our next dinner. Please reach out to me, Rajashree Rammohan at Raj_Ram@foundryco.com

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.