At the end of March, Okta, an independent provider of identity solutions for the enterprise, announced major updates and additions to its Okta Partner Connect program.
“Our ecosystem continues to expand globally, through new strategic initiatives and an enhanced focus on distribution,” said Patrick McCue, Okta’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Partnerships, in a press release. “We have made critical updates to our program because as partners continue to play a bigger role in our business, it’s imperative to continue to provide comprehensive tools and training to build their Okta knowledge and ultimately drive our customers’ success.”
Among the enhancements to the Partner Connect program, the company highlighted its Okta Marketing Hub, which gives partners access to self-service marketing campaigns, as well as a program menu from which to select turnkey campaigns to drive demand. A new content management system filled with resources and a simplified Okta Partner Community user interface for easier engagement was also announced.
In a conversation with Channel Marketer Report, McCue shared more information about the Marketing Hub.
CMR – The ongoing evolution of the B2B buyer’s journey is requiring many companies to upgrade their channel marketing programs. Is the Marketing Hub designed to help partners take advantage of more modern marketing strategies, especially digital tactics?
Patrick McCue — Digital marketing is incredibly important in shaping a customer’s buying and brand experience now more than ever. With hundreds of partners globally and our solution providers being involved in about 60% of our annual bookings today, partners play a huge, critical role and digital marketing will become a more critical component of their overall success. Providing them with tools and systems, such as our new Marketing Hub as well as our new content management system, will allow us to scale and execute to- and through-partner programs more effectively, and it will make sure our partners have access to the critical information they need to do their job.
Additionally, it helps us scale our business with and through our partner ecosystem, especially as we enter new markets and unchartered territories for Okta.
CMR – What are some of the key features of Marketing Hub?
Patrick McCue — The Okta Marketing Hub, powered by Averetek (E2Open), is a one-stop-shop for Okta partners to access all Okta marketing content. Okta partners will be able to establish their organizations as identity experts through easily customizable co-branded programs that generate demand. Partners will not only have access to our repository of campaigns, but they will be able to fully execute their marketing campaigns front-to-end.
The Okta Marketing Hub will give partners access to the turnkey programs available to them based on their partner tier, region, or product interest, and allows them to execute campaigns from one centralized location. Additionally, partners can take advantage of other benefits such as a Digital Marketing Services Menu for which partners can request Okta Marketing Development Funds (MDF), social media activation, and Okta website content syndication. The platform also gives them access to reporting for greater visibility into campaign performance.
Partners will be able to gate and ungate the turnkey programs on the Marketing Hub. This will allow them to generate leads through a variety of demand generation activities for dedicated follow-up. It will allow Okta to have visibility into the numbers associated with activities such as list size and performance metrics. But the details such as names, addresses and other content specific to leads that come from the partners’ database, Okta cannot see.
Additionally, we’ll be leveraging automated UTM tracking so we’ll be able to track any URL’s that direct back to any of the limited assets hosted on Okta.com (for example a blog, or a free trial) to the partner executing the campaign in the Marketing Hub.
We want to actively work with our partners towards a more digital marketing strategy, but it was important to be able to control Okta messaging and branding, without losing our partners’ own value in these joint campaigns, and our new Marketing Hub will help us do just that!
CMR – Channel marketers often struggle with driving partner engagement with their marketing programs. What are your expectations for partner utilization of the tools and support that Okta is offering?
Patrick McCue — We believe the usage of our Marketing Hub will be two-fold. On one hand we’re hoping partners become more self-sufficient in planning and executing marketing campaigns to prospects, and repurposing content for their own hosted marketing activities. On the other hand, the turnkey campaigns, as well as the digital marketing services we’ll be offering through the Marketing Hub will help our own Regional Marketing Managers to scale and be more efficient when planning campaigns with our focus partners as they will not have to reinvent the wheel and come up with completely new campaigns or themes each time.
In addition to proactive alerting or featuring new campaigns on the homepage of the Marketing Hub, we have established a Partner Concierge team to make this launch and rollout a success. The Partner Concierge team will be a dedicated team of digital marketing specialists focused on providing our partners with the tools and guidance to leverage the Marketing Hub to execute and track successful marketing initiatives. This team will help us:
Additionally, we will offer partners a Digital Marketing Services Menu on the Marketing Hub for which they can request MDF. Partners can browse and connect with specially chosen demand generation agencies and order digital marketing services ranging from a wide variety of content syndication programs, content creation, and display advertising to social media activation and even more traditional telemarketing. These activities can be funded up to 100% depending on region and partner tier.
CMR – There are many ways to measure the benefits of implementing a through-channel marketing automation solution (TCMA). What are some of the outcomes that you expect to achieve?
Patrick McCue — An important reason as to why Okta is investing into a TCMA solution is enhanced visibility in order to evaluate campaign return on investment. We need to be able to identify exactly which resources are being used and which campaigns are getting the most or the least amount of traction with partners. Such visibility will allow us to determine what’s working and what isn’t so we can refine our approach, better invest marketing funds, strengthen partner engagement and, ultimately, help partners become more self-sufficient.
We have a wide variety of partners who we work with directly on marketing initiatives, or who go through distribution. Providing the content and marketing materials required to market themselves to prospects more efficiently and effectively will allow us to expand globally, especially into non-English speaking regions.
Success will be measured in a variety of ways. We’ll look at how many partners login to the Marketing Hub, assess what percentage of assets have been downloaded, the number of campaigns (not) executed, how many leads our partners have generated, and the number of deal registrations we see associated with Marketing Hub campaigns.