Marketing executives agree that collaborating with alliance partners offers significant benefits. According to a recent survey by WorkSpan, the developer of a shared platform that supports networks for partner ecosystems, marketing with partners can increase lead generation and provide access to new market segments and the prospects within them.
But the survey also highlighted many of the obstacles generally associated with alliance partner marketing programs. Marketing executives agreed that the challenges of marketing with partners include:
Improved management of shared budgets was flagged as a top priority. Almost all — 99% — of marketing executives think it would be valuable to have a better handle on joint budgets when marketing with partners. Nearly half – 46% — said it would be “extremely valuable.”
The respondents overwhelming complained that their marketing budgets were not being maximized. Only 11% said their yearly budgets were spent effectively. 15% said that more than half of their annual partner co-marketing funds is left on the table.
Respondents commented that it is increasingly difficult to coordinate activities, even among staff, as more of them work in different offices or virtually. Fewer than half of marketing executives (46%) work with teams in the same office. More than 90% of marketing executives find it difficult to collaborate internationally. Scheduling calls across time zones was identified as a top difficulty (41%). Pushing centralized plans to regional teams (43 percent) was ranked the number one challenge.
Nearly half (47%) spend more than four hours each week in meetings to review the progress of marketing projects, and more than three quarters say they employ a person whose sole job is to track campaign progress.
The majority (83%) of respondents to the WorkSpan survey, which was conducted by Propeller Insights in November 2017, said they were not using a partner management tool to help coordinate activities within their ecosystem. However, more than a quarter of marketing executives (27%) use at least 10 different pieces of software to collaborate with marketing partners and colleagues on tasks including:
“Companies need to engage with thriving ecosystems of partners to make themselves strategic and valuable for their ecosystem, but this creates many potential complications and inefficiencies,” said Mayank Bawa, CEO and founder of WorkSpan, in a press release. “We created WorkSpan to make joint marketing with partners accountable, innovative and impactful at scale — and to create unparalleled visibility throughout the process, making their campaigns more effective and helping them to put every cent of their marketing budgets to good use.”