Foundry (an IDG, Inc. company), the global leader in media, martech and data for the tech community – releases the 2022 Partner Marketing Study, focused on partner marketing activities within the technology industry. This study measures responses from technology marketers to look at budgets, goals and challenges, and provides insights for marketers to benchmark their own efforts and explore how to increase their partner marketing success.
This year’s study found that 88% of marketers view partner marketing as a necessary tactic that provides great or some value (51% great value, 37% some value.) The value seen is reflected in the expected budgets. Respondents report that 40% of their overall marketing budget is allocated towards partner marketing activities, which is up from 37% in 2019. When asked how their budgets will shift over the next year, 72% plan to increase their budgets and 20% expect their budgets to remain the same.
Goals and success associated with partner marketing
Overall, 85% of organizations have a documented partner marketing strategy, and this increases to 89% for enterprises and is only 77% for SMBs. When a strategy is in place, there’s a significantly greater chance that marketers will see success. Organizations with a documented partner marketing strategy report that 58% of their partner marketing programs yielded successful results over the past 12 months, compared to 45% of programs at organizations without a strategy and 56% overall.
“The results outline the objectives marketers hope to get out of partner marketing, and they match what we’re hearing in the market. A successful partner marketing strategy not only aims to increase revenue, but also attract new customers, increase sales and partner engagement, while driving brand awareness and credibility,” said Rick Currier, VP, US Sales & Partner Marketing, Foundry. “With this diverse set of objectives, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Look to your partners as an extension of your organization and leverage agencies to help scale results.”
In order to achieve these goals, marketers plan to focus their partner marketing efforts on social media presence, branding, content development, demand generation and events. When asked how they measure the success of their partner marketing programs, more than fifty percent said increase in the number of actual customers which is tied with total revenue generated from programs. Additional metrics include strong partner relationships and growth of market share.
Keeping the theme of value and success in mind, marketers (81%) agree that they are seeing a shift towards value creation partners, away from straight resell/fulfillment partners. That being said, organizations state to be involved with a variety of partners – technology partners (working with an average of 129), systems integrators (average of 108), and channel partner/resellers (average of 130). Partner marketing teams are tasked with managing the relationships with multiple partners, and roles within this management include explore/research partnerships (53%), evaluate/measure success of partner programs (52%), build partner marketing programs (51%), manage partner ecosystem (50%), and oversee the partner marketing budget (49%).
“As these relationships become more complex, the majority of organizations plan to outsource some partner marketing activities over the next 12 months,” said Currier. “The tactics that they anticipate outsourcing fall into Foundry’s scope of services – social media, events, campaign and program strategy, video production, demand gen – the list goes on. And it’s important to note that more than ¾ of marketers agree that partner marketing programs with agencies yield greater results than those run in-house.”
Complexities create challenges
Despite the path in place to generate success and growth, partner marketers see a variety of challenges. The largest being too many competing priorities (31%), lack of strategy (25%), lack of partner commitment (24%), and lack of resources (24%). Competing priorities and lack of strategy are greater challenges for SMBs (38% and 30%), while only 28% of enterprises agree that too many competing priorities is a challenge and only 20% for a lack of strategy.
Lack of partner commitment is the number two challenge for enterprises, however organizations, especially enterprises, have strategies in place to increase partner engagement. When asked this new question this year, marketers say they are investing in self-service portals to make it easier for partners to find/activate programs (49%), investing/building portals to help scale partner programs (44%), and developing multi-partner packages to take directly to partners (41%).