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In this episode, Rick sits down with Dan Kessler, a seasoned professional with experience at the forefront of global campaigns. Starting in the campaigns team and transitioning to partner marketing, Dan shares insights into the challenges of navigating the diverse world of partnerships. The duo discusses the impact of the pandemic on relationship building, the importance of internal collaboration, and the metrics that drive success. Join the conversation as they explore the dynamics of growth, adaptability, and the value of connecting the dots in one’s career.

Navigating the dynamic world of partner marketing: insights from Dan Kessler

In the latest episode of “On the Road,” Rick Currier catches up with Dan Kessler, Strategic Alliances Integration Leader at Dell Technologies. The conversation delves deep into the intricacies of partner marketing, the challenges of transitioning roles, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on building professional relationships.

Reconnecting after seven years

Rick kicks off the episode with a warm welcome, noting the snowy weather and the perfect timing for hot chocolate. Dan reminisces about cleaning snow off his car and brings his kids to school, highlighting a relatable slice of life that many listeners might identify with. Reflecting on their long-overdue catch-up, Rick notes, “That’s what I love about this industry though like seven years could go by and we could just pick up just like we just left off.”

A journey through changing roles

Dan’s journey within Dell has been dynamic, evolving from working on the content team to his current expansive role. Initially part of the data center global campaigns team, Dan transitioned to partner marketing, a move that was both challenging and rewarding. He explains, “When I moved into that role, you know, I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had amazing leaders throughout my career and I’ve had the right leader at all the different points in my career.”

The role of global campaigns

Explaining his role, Dan elaborates, “Global campaigns is how do we kind of lure folks into the market bring folks to our landing page. And we do that through different avenues. Some are paid media, some are content things like that.” This multifaceted approach is essential in driving engagement and ensuring that Dell’s wide array of products reaches the right audience.

Transitioning to partner marketing

Dan’s shift to partner marketing came at a pivotal moment, right before the pandemic. He describes the initial phase as challenging, particularly since the role required building relationships virtually. “I went down to Austin Texas on February 28 of 2020… and then COVID happened and nobody was traveling right?” This unexpected shift meant that Dan had to adapt quickly, relying on virtual meetings to establish and nurture these essential partnerships.

Building relationships virtually

Despite the challenges, Dan and his team managed to thrive. “At some point after that six months of time something clicked,” he recalls. The team began to see themselves as a family, supporting one another and working closely to achieve their goals. This camaraderie was crucial in navigating the complexities of partner marketing during such an unprecedented time.

Collaboration and decision-making

Rick and Dan discuss the collaborative nature of partner marketing, particularly in a large organization like Dell. Dan emphasizes the importance of collaboration both internally and with partners like Intel. “We want everything to be as authentic as possible, we want to collaborate,” he says. This approach ensures that all parties benefit and that the campaigns are genuinely reflective of the partnerships involved.

The seasons of partner marketing

Dan likens his role to having different seasons, with planning season being his favourite. He enjoys bringing partners and internal teams together to strategize for the upcoming fiscal year. This collaborative effort helps align priorities and ensures that the campaigns are effective and resonate with the target audience.

Evolving strategies and education

As the conversation progresses, Dan highlights the evolution of strategies within Dell. Initially, there was a learning curve in integrating partners effectively, but over time, education and understanding improved. “I think the train of thought for everybody that works at Dell has also changed at least in the campaigns or that I work with,” he notes. This shift has led to a more proactive approach, with teams now seeking his input on how best to integrate partnerships.


The episode offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of partner marketing and the unique challenges and rewards it brings. Dan Kessler’s journey is a testament to the power of adaptability, collaboration, and the importance of building strong relationships, even in a virtual world. As he continues to navigate this dynamic field, his insights provide valuable lessons for anyone involved in marketing and partnerships.

Dan Kessler is the Strategic Alliances Integration Leader at Dell Technologies.

About Dell Technologies:  

Dell Technologies helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play. The company provides customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era. Learn more at