Pandemic reveals lack of channel digital marketing skills

There is a need for vendors and partners to strengthen their digital marketing skills, after experiences over the past 18 months have revealed a lack of expertise.

Channel marketing experts Coterie, along with its research partner the University of Huddersfield, produced a report, Generating value from 2.0 ecosystems, which sheds light on the state of play, making it clear that partners need to be ready to reach customers in different ways.

“Traditionally, partner marketing and channel marketing has been a lot of face-to-face and very event-driven,” said Jo Dunkley, director of business development and marketing at Coterie.

“But following the pandemic and everyone being indoors and online, it has accelerated this search online when you are looking for solutions. About 46% of the purchase journey is done online. So from a marketing perspective, this skill set is completely shifting to become a more digital requirement.

The report found that the emergence of hybrid working meant that the relationships the channel cultivated with customers were virtually evolving and needed to be embraced, which was not always an easy task for some partners.

Despite the shift to digital, Coterie found that many industry players simply did not have the in-house expertise to respond to these changes. The findings identified a shortage of partner marketing professionals with digital skills, including messaging, brand research and community building. Finding someone with all of these attributes was a challenge.

Dunkley said things were unlikely to ever return to normal as the digital switchover predated the pandemic and the shopping process had moved online for more customers.

“It’s about having the content online, so people can self-serve and find the information they really want, and then, at the end of the journey, it’s about reinforcing that message so that they feel they made the right decision,” she said.

the University of Huddersfield Shona Bettany said the changes in the world caused by the coronavirus have revealed some issues.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly acted as a challenge and has ultimately forced many companies across industries to pause and reconsider, and our research findings suggest that partner marketing is not exempt from the changes being made. by this historic period,” she said.

Dunkley added that there was pressure on vendors to also ensure their channel marketing hit the mark, because if it failed there were serious financial implications.

“With 60-65% of revenue coming from the channel, why wouldn’t you have an experienced, comprehensive marketing operation and a team that can develop easy-to-understand propositions and develop campaigns so buyers can easily find content. when and where they need it, in this buying cycle?” she said. “I think it’s become a staple.”

William L. Hart