Channel marketing was apparently on the mind of many attendees at the 2018 B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale, AZ last week. All of the four sessions included in the conference’s inaugural channel marketing track attracted healthy-size audiences.
The channel track featured a who’s who of leading channel marketing executives. Maria Chien, Service Director of Channel Marketing Strategies for SiriusDecisions, opened the track with her presentation, A Roadmap for Driving Better Engagement and Fueling Marketing Performance with Partners.
Laz Gonzalez, Chief Strategy Officer at Zift Solutions, reviewed how the combination of three basic activities – to-, through- and for-channel marketing – contribute to partner revenue. Jen Spencer, VP of Sales and Marketing at SmartBug Media, addressed a standing-room-only audience on Applying Personas and Message Maps to Optimize Channel Marketing.
For the final session, Gonzalez moderated a panel of channel marketing professionals including Lisa Penn, Senior Director, Global Channel Marketing Strategic Decisions, SAP; Matt Hensler, Chief Marketing and Innovation Office at HomeSmart; Mike Gallagher, Head of Marketing, Q2E, and Jamie Mendez, Director, Channel Marketing, IBM.
The decision to add a channel marketing track to B2BMX, which is produced by G3 Communications, the publisher of CMR, was a response to the increasing share of of B2B revenue that indirect sales organizations generate.
“Optimizing channel marketing programs is becoming more important as companies strive to accelerate their sales growth through partner networks,” said G3 Communications president and founder, Andrew Gaffney. “At B2BMX, we recognized an opportunity to help experienced channel marketers upgrade their skills as well as introduce channel marketing best practices to professionals new to the discipline.
“The number of attendees who crowded the channel marketing session we added to the B2BMX agenda this year will encourage us to expand the track at future events,” said Gaffney.
The channel marketing track was a welcome addition to the overall agenda, attendees said. “Sometimes channel marketing gets overlooked or deemed less important than traditional marketing, digital marketing, or practically any other facet of marketing,” said Mary Beth Kime, Global Marketing Manager for Material Handling, Ingersoll Rand. “I was grateful to have the opportunity to sit in on a few of the channel marketing sessions and learn from those who experience the same challenges that I do.“
Channel marketing is not the only aspect of her role, she explained. “But because of how my company goes to market, it is a critical pillar of my marketing plan.”
“We were happy to see how the conference has grown over the past few years and has held true to its focus on B2B marketing, for both direct marketing and now channels,” said Gonzalez. “The opportunity to moderate the panel and deliver a 30-minute best practice presentation on to-, through-, and for-channel marketing to an audience comprised of channel marketing leaders was well worth our investment.”
“It was great to see the attendance and enthusiasm for the channel marketing track at B2BMX,” said Gallagher. “I think savvy marketeers, realizing that the majority of their revenues come through the channel, are starting to think channel-first.”
“It was my privilege to share the stage with the other channel marketing leaders,” said Penn. “Because the speakers brought such a diverse set of experiences, the discussion was rich with technique and insights.
“I have found sessions of this type to be extremely beneficial to both new and experienced channel marketers,” she continued. “In fact, I walked away with a new idea to drive partner awareness.”
Next year, B2BMX will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Scottsdale, AZ, February 25-27.