For the past 30 years, most B2B channel professionals have thought of their channel as a sales channel. Indeed, in the “good old days,” the standard operating procedure equated to the B2B manufacturer/vendor doing the marketing, the channel partner the selling.
But times have changed. The 5-person “box-pusher” channel partner model of the past has, for the most part, gone the way of the dinosaurs. Today’s successful channel companies are diverse, vibrant business engines, firing on many cylinders, including innovative value-added services, managed services, business consulting, eCommerce, billing aggregation, and marketing. Today’s channel is much more than a sales channel; it’s a marketing, sales, delivery, and support channel.
The majority of channel partners now employ their own professional marketers and marketing programs – which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Left unchecked, channel partners’ marketing efforts can ignore, dilute, confuse, or (worse!) damage a tech vendor’s brand. Leveraged, channel partners’ relatively newfound marketing prowess represents a powerful amplifier for tech vendors to extend their marketing reach. At Cisco’s Marketing Velocity event this spring, many Cisco channel partners evidenced a marketing aptitude for digital customer engagement that rivals that of many tech vendors.Read more