2016 Partner Marketing Guide: What Is Your Best Piece Of Marketing Advice?

Sound Advice

CRN's first-annual Partner Marketing Guide highlights the innovative marketing programs that IT vendors offer to solution provider partners. The support, services and capabilities these programs provide to the indirect IT channel can be invaluable, and in some cases, prove to be the key differentiator in a customer's purchasing journey.

We asked the marketing superstars highlighted in the 2016 Partner Marketing Guide to share their best piece of marketing advice for solution providers.

Here were provide a sample of these responses. For a look at all of the programs highlighted in this year's project, check out the Partner Marketing Guide database.

APC by Schneider Electric

Jamie Bourassa

VP, Channel Marketing

Dollars are precious and the ability to maximize them is key, regardless of business or industry. So, ensure the proper amount of thought about objectives and measurements are put into each initiative to maximize your investments. A key aspect is the alignment of your messages and the ability to deliver upon those promises in the market. Any messages sent into the market should be constantly aligned to the value your company can create for your customer and must be backed up by execution.


Patricia Atchison

VP, Global Partner Marketing

My advice to solution providers is to make marketing a priority and invest in it. Over the past several years, many solution providers have started to invest more in marketing and demand creation. They have seen how marketing can be a differentiator for their business. Solution providers have a unique value proposition and the majority of their competitors are not investing in marketing. A well planned, targeted marketing program or campaign can yield measurable results that have a big impact on their business.

Cisco Systems

Michelle Chiantera

VP, Global Partner Marketing

Set quantifiable goals – this tells you what works or does not work so you can repeat or retire. Never confuse activity with results.


Graciano Beyhaut

Senior Marketing Operations Manager

People buy into your product or business not because you're saying it's great. They make the leap because they've heard it works from someone they trust and know. Gain advocacy by embedding customers into your product development process and by helping them solve problems.


Alisa Frye

Marketing Coordinator

Rather than selling products, focus on targeting customer needs. Focusing on customer needs provides a more personal marketing experience where audience members feel like they're being talked to rather than advertised to and can lead to stronger, more trustworthy relationships.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Chris Ogburn

VP, Worldwide Channel Marketing

Recognize the evolution of the buyer's journey and how your marketing must evolve in the areas of digital and social media. Customers are typically up to 70 percent of the way through the buyer's journey before speaking with a sales rep. If you aren't engaging with them early in the process, you may completely miss the opportunity.


Catherine Ramos

Director of Marketing

The most important thing for solution providers to keep in mind is that the market is not static, it's constantly changing and you must adapt to changes and even forecast them when possible.

Your marketing strategy should reflect this; take into consideration your customers' evolving needs and make sure that you have the marketing messages that will engage existing and new customers.

Solution providers can also lean on their technology vendors by leveraging their research and marketing materials that reflect industry trends, and can help solution providers develop an effective marketing strategy.

Palo Alto Networks

Melissa Nacerino

Director Channel Marketing

The most frequent advice we offer in working together with our partners is simple – stand out. If you are doing something that every other solution provider is doing to reach the same people, let's do something different. We really want to work with our partners to create measurable engagement with their audience. That kind of marketing takes a lot more thought and effort, but surprisingly, it often takes less money and has radically better results for everybody.

Tripp Lite

Michelle Wang

Director of Marketing - US Channel

Constantly analyze and evaluate your programs, campaigns and website. It's important to put your efforts and funds into programs that work and will provide you with ROI, and to do that you need to analyze what is working, what isn't, and what could be changed to make it work. Don't be afraid to get rid of a program if it's not providing you a return.


Thomas Tan

VP, Global Integrated Marketing

As businesses shift to cloud-based and service-oriented models, customer relationships and loyalty become even more important to your business. Consequently, solution providers need to re-think their marketing strategy to invest more in customer loyalty, retention and satisfaction, instead of customer acquisition. Build a content marketing practice and make it central to your overall marketing strategy. This way, your marketing programs can truly follow along your customer lifecycle, from initial acquisition to post-sale to renewal, and help drive more revenue contribution beyond the initial transaction.