Partner Survey Says Vendor-Created Content, Marketing Support Needs Work

Partner organizations gave vendors a less than enthusiastic endorsement of the content they provide to support marketing programs. Less than half of the respondents to the 2018 State of Partner Marketing survey by A Fluent Vision (AFV), a sales and marketing consultancy, described the content created by vendors as very or extremely useful.

Partners complained that vendor created content was too broad or lacked industry knowledge. Others griped that vendor-supplied content was too product-centric or did not focus on business impact or customer problems.

Still, partners stressed that manufacturer-provided content was important to their marketing efforts. Two-thirds of the respondents said vendor-generated content was important (27%), very important (29%) or extremely important (19%).

The survey also suggested that partners are not overwhelming enthusiastic about vendor-hosted marketing platforms. The AFV report echoed other reports that the majority of partners are not fully engaging the marketing platforms provided by vendors. While 20% of the respondents said they executed half or more of their marketing activities through a manufacturer platform in the last six months, a third of the respondents used vendor platforms to execute only 5% or less of their overall marketing efforts.

Some respondents complained that they didn’t have the time to manage multiple and disparate platforms hosted by all of the manufacturers they represent.

Partners Eager to Market

Still, partner interest and investment in marketing the vendors they represent, as well as their own brands is growing, said Randy Sasaki, an AFV partner. On a call with CMR, he explained that partner recognition of the importance of a robust marketing strategy is growing.

Randy Sasaki, Partner, AFV

“Three or four years ago they couldn’t care less about marketing,” said Sasaki. “It’s amazing what they’re doing now,” he added, referencing a partner whose social digital strategy, “included not just Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn, he even had YouTube. Some of these partner organizations, they’re moving forward. It’s really very exciting what they’re doing.”

According to the survey, partner organizations are making investments in technology to support their own marketing programs. The report noted the growing adoption of in-house marketing automation platforms (HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, etc.) within individual partner organizations. According to the report, “As marketers are pushed to maximum capacity, their need for a single interface to manage all marketing activity continues to grow.” Some respondents said that their own platforms provide more reliable analytics that vendor-hosted solutions.

Concierge services can help to boost the adoption rate of vendor-hosted marketing platforms. But platform expertise and helpdesk support were the least prioritized qualities of support personnel.

“Our survey clearly says that that’s not what they care about,” he told CMR. “They care about strategy. They care about tactics. They care about execution. They care about customizing and amplifying their voice the way they want to do it.”

According to the survey, the leading qualities of a partner marketing manager are industry knowledge, product/solution knowledge, best practice/experience and marketing knowledge.

The 2018 State of Partner Marketing report is available here.