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New Tactics for Selling Next-Gen Technology

Lynn Haber**Editor’s Note: Register now for the Business Success Symposium Preconference, sponsored by Verizon, as part of your Channel Partners Conference & Expo package.**

Marketing has never come easy to most channel-partner firms — if it’s been on their radar at all. That approach is a death knell in today’s economy.

There are no ifs, ands or buts today about the fact that partner firms must have a marketing strategy. In particular, marketing leaders at partner organizations need to be thinking about embracing today’s top marketing trends, particularly as business decision makers get younger. They also must know what tools are available to help them and how to effectively incorporate these tools in their marketing strategy.

Luanne TierneyThat will be the thrust of Luanne Tierney’s keynote titled, “New Tactics for Selling Next-Gen Tech,” at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo Business Success Symposium in Las Vegas, April 10.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Tierney, who has 25 years of marketing experience, shares her marketing expertise. She’s a board member, investor, speaker and author. Tierney was the vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco, as well as at Juniper Networks, and was a senior marketing executive at Proofpoint, a cybersecurity firm, among others. She’s currently a managing member and chief marketing officer (CMO) at Fivesky, a next-gen solution provider with expertise in designing security, cloud and data-center solutions for businesses globally.

Channel Partners: You’ve been in the tech industry long enough to understand how partners have dealt with marketing. Share your perspective.

Luanne Tierney: Most partners struggle with their marketing efforts. I’d say that about 80 percent of partners out there treat marketing as an afterthought versus leading with marketing as an important aspect of their business.{ad}

CP: What’s the problem with that approach?

LT: As one of my business partners says, “You have to be marketing led or you’re dead in this digital business economy.” The more new decision makers come into play — they Google you, they Google your company … everything is changing now.

For example, there used to be B-B and B-C and it was very different. But that’s all changing now. What used to be B-C has moved into B-B. Why? Because it’s all about relationships and people to people, and choosing brands based on people that they [decision makers] can identify with. So when you look at social media, it’s all about human to human.

CP: So what does this trend mean for partners and marketing?

LT: It means that social marketing is on the rise. In the past, big brands with big budgets controlled everything. Now, the opportunity to drive your brand and thought leadership does not solely rely on …

{vpipagebreak}

… big marketing budgets.

Another trend is short-lived content. Snapchat, for example. The shelf life for content is getting shorter. Today we face an “attention economy” where partners need to get creative with their content to break through the noise and to persuade key decision makers on the benefits of technologies.

Also, mobile video is the No. 1 way that people consume video. Every partner needs to have a mobile video strategy.

CP: Do the new trends in marketing offer partner firms a good starting point, even if their efforts to date haven’t been great?

LT: There’s never been a better time for partners to sell their brand because there are so many affordable tools for them to do that. It’s not just about events anymore. Today there are so many fantastic and free tools like Evite or Splash That, for example, that let you do an old-school event marketing almost for free — other than paying for the event itself.{ad}

Partners can be more self-sufficient than ever before. They don’t need to be a millennial; they just need to be knowledgeable about the tools, and you can do that at any age.

CP: Talk a bit more about why partner firms need a digital marketing strategy.

LT: The time to nurture new business decision makers is now. A lot of the IT decision makers are getting younger; they’re digitally savvy and they’re influenced by the channels. So it’s those partners who are putting themselves in those channels who will win five years from now. Partners need to build relationships through online engagement.

CP: What will partner marketing executives learn from attending your marketing keynote?

LT: I’m going to make sure that attendees are aware of the latest marketing trends and how to implement them into their marketing efforts to drive demand for their business. Partners have to be marketing-led to position themselves for success for the future.


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