Channel Data Management Channel Partner Marketing Strategy

Inflection Points: Evolving Partner Marketing Strategies

The following information was sourced from Ansira’s monthly webinar series. Click here to watch the recording – a must see for all channel partners!   

Channel partners are expressing high confidence in their ability to drive revenue growth and profit in 2024. According to a Canalys poll among a sample of 200+ of Candefero’s partner community, two-thirds of them consider themselves to be in growth mode, with one-third expecting to grow by double digits and be more profitable this year. This level of confidence is reminiscent of the periods following major economic downturns in 2001 and 2008 – which is good news for channel partners looking for recovery later in the year and into 2025.  

Understanding the factors contributing to this confidence and the key inflection points impacting distributed ecosystems across all verticals is crucial for marketers who are looking to capitalize on this optimistic outlook.  

Who Are Channel Partners? 

Before diving into the inflection points, it’s important to define who channel partners are. Channel partners are agents, resellers, distributors, franchisee owners, or distributors who partner with an enterprise brand to market or sell the goods and services of the enterprise brand on their behalf. Channel marketing is the activation of reaching a target audience through a distributed sales network or partner ecosystem. 

Younger Buyers and Consumers  

The rise of the younger buyer in both B2B and consumer markets, coupled with a generational shift, is reshaping the way marketers should approach sales and channel partner marketing. By the end of 2024, the majority of buyers in most industries will be millennials. Understanding this new buyer is essential as their psychology, behavior, and customer journey differ from previous generations.  

One significant shift is the preference for digital interactions over human contact, even for highly considered purchases like cars. Additional B2B buyer journey research stated that 71% of buyers start with a generic search term rather than a specific company name or product, and 57% of buyers get more than halfway down the sales path before engaging with a brand or company website. This digital-first and digital-only mentality extends to their expectations of products and services, with an emphasis on seamless integration.   

“Baby Boomers and Gen X used to focus on criteria like price, service, support, or brand reputation when considering a purchase,” said Canalys Chief Analyst Jay McBain. “This has now been overtaken by what we call ‘integrations’ where younger buyers want their product to seamlessly integrate into both their personal environment and professional environment.”   

Demise of the Third-Party Cookie  

The impending demise of third-party cookies, driven by privacy concerns and regulatory pressures, is reshaping how marketers approach targeting and tracking. While Google’s recent decision to once again delay third-party cookie deprecation is being viewed as a good thing, the ultimate end goal to move away from third-party cookies will have significant implications for co-selling, lead generation, and demand activity within partner ecosystems.  

In a post-cookie world, understanding buyer intent and surrounding the buyer at every stage of the buying cycle becomes paramount. Today, the modern buyer experiences 28 moments that lead to purchase decisions with specific vendors, and the majority of these moments are with or through channel partners. Marketers must rely on partnerships to access data and insights that were once obtained through platforms like Facebook or Google. This shift requires a collaborative approach to partner marketing.   

“This is where it’s important to understand the 28 moments of the new customer journey,” said McBain. “This expanding customer journey means no single vendor can effectively reach and engage their target markets alone. It’s a team sport. Vendors must invest in collaborative go-to-market strategies with their partner ecosystems, specifically around co-marketing and co-selling.”  

Tech Stack Transformations  

The traditional linear tech stack is evolving into a more distributed approach that focuses on the entire customer journey. Historically, companies have only recognized the role of channel partners at the point of sale. But in today’s environment, it’s critical for companies to embrace the increasingly important role that channel partners play in the moments before, during, and after a customer’s purchase.   

“Getting the customer to the dance is just as valuable as getting them on the dance floor, which is just as valuable as keeping them dancing all night long,” said McBain.  

So how should companies approach a tech stack that measures every point of a customer journey and can help apply value to them? Working with the right platform technology partner plays a crucial role in this new ecosystem to provide integrations that cover all stages of the customer journey.  

“The greatest win is if partners use Ansira – then you’re truly partnered and everything is integrated,” said McBain. “All the marketing campaigns you’re running are then integrated, and both sides are better together because they can both take advantage of the data, and you can work together to hit all the critical components of the customer journey.” 

Understanding and adapting to these key inflection points is essential for channel partner marketing strategies in 2024 and beyond. By focusing on the needs and behaviors of younger buyers, navigating the challenges of the post-cookie world, and embracing new tech stack transformations, companies can position themselves for success in an evolving landscape.  

Are you ready to take your channel marketing to the next level? Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you to enhance your marketing strategies.  

By Courtney Jane Acuff

Courtney is responsible for the go-to-market strategy and execution to support the Ansira brand across owned and paid activities including analyst relations, sponsorships, paid media, owned events, organic channels, and public relations. She's also the former Channel Partner Marketing Solution lead and has a passion for all brands with distributed sales networks.