2023 will be dominated by sustainability, Xaas and marketer resilience, according to Coterie Community founder members
Non-profit community members give their views for the next 12 months, and what will really matter to channel and partner marketers this year.
London, UK, 12 Jan 2023, Sustainability, everything-as-a-service (XaaS) and a more collaborative ecosystem strategy, will be the top trends in the tech channel this year, according to the founder members of the not-for-profit organisation the Coterie Community.
Dedicated to putting channel and partner marketing on the map, the Coterie Community unites partner marketers from vendors, ISVs, systems integrators and service providers, to share experiences, benchmark standards, provide learning tools and hold dedicated partner and channel networking events. The community is vendor-agnostic and is run by and for its members.
The Coterie Community has its sights firmly set on raising the bar in channel marketing in 2023 by understanding the trends and challenges likely to manifest this year, according to Helen Curtis, founder of the Coterie Community.
“One of the main reasons for starting the community was to provide independent support for our members. We get together and discuss the challenges – and solutions – we’re going through as channel and partner marketers. There isn’t another place for us to do this. Channel marketers will face some unique circumstances in 2023, and by coming together and talking about it and planning for it we can take advantage of every trend and work to overcome the challenges.”
One such trend is sustainability, according to the founder members, who said it’s already near the top of many corporate agendas and will only become a higher priority in 2023.
Rob Reynolds, Head of Field Marketing EMEA & GSI, International Marketing, Verizon Business Group, said it’s something he’s constantly hearing about, from partners and inside his organisation. “We’re now at an action stage – it’s got to be about more than just good intentions or strategy with no substance. Businesses must align their strategy to sustainability and be actively pursuing ESG targets if they want to generate value.”
James Houselander, Senior Manager, EMEA Channel Marketing, HPE Aruba, said it’s something partners will have to address in 2023. “There isn’t a single ‘right’ solution to addressing sustainability and ESG issues, so as well as being a key trend, this is also going to be a challenge in 2023. For channel marketers, getting to grips with compliance, and then using that to help drive competitive advantage could make a real difference.”
Jon Collins, VP of Research at independent analyst firm GiGaOm, agreed: “Sustainability and broader ESG don’t have to be seen as a cost, there’s value to be had in how a business addresses the needs of its stakeholders, and how that translates into benefits across the board, from brand equity to bottom-line impact. Key is measurability, so it’s important that channel organisations see a role for impactful sustainability, rather than in marketing alone.”
The second major trend highlighted by founder members of the Coterie Community is the acceleration of XaaS.
Lily Lazarevski, Senior Global Channel Marketing Manager at Infoblox, said the pressure is on. “With the ongoing industry shift to XaaS and revenue spread over a longer period, more subscription deals are needed to equal the pre-Xaas revenue and mitigate churn. For channel marketers, this means more marketing is needed to fill the funnel faster as we look to greater collaboration with our partners to help increase awareness, reach, and drive pipeline velocity in a noisy marketplace..”
Houselander agreed: “There is a huge amount of transformation going on because the cloud is now de facto. It’s a true solution sell, and partners are having to transform to market, sell, and service these solutions. The knock-on effect is widespread across the channel – more personnel movement, a different skill requirement, and a focus on a customer-centric strategy.”
It’s this move to everything-as-a-service that’s driving the third trend the community highlighted; tighter, more collaborative ecosystems. Lazarevski, at Infoblox, said: “This year there will need to be greater ecosystem collaboration to create coverage and scale for complex solutions. As XaaS grows, partners are increasingly challenged to master the variety of technologies required by their customers. Success will require the entire partner ecosystem to work in a matrixed model to create, sell and market comprehensive solutions that deliver customer value.”
She added that this will mean vendors must provide compelling value drivers focused on partner success, building competencies, and strive to drive greater ease of doing business together to attract and retain top-performing partners.
Barnaby Wood, EMEA Product Management, Veritas Technologies, said. “This will increasingly drive channel marketers to get hands-on and do a bit of everything. The internal ecosystems around channel GTM are not robust. We need to focus next year on increasing our alignment with sales, educating the entire business on ‘why channel marketing, and making the whole process more collaborative and effective.”
Colleen Fogerty, Global Head of Partner and Ecosystem Marketing at Atos Tech Foundations, also highlighted the importance of the ecosystem in 2023. “What Atos does well are huge, complex, secure, and often highly confidential IT projects. So, taking a small piece of this solution and a small part of that and running lots of little partner campaigns is just a bit boring and less compelling. It also doesn’t differentiate us. This is why we need to shift from partner-by-partner in 2023 to ecosystem marketing. We need to communicate collectively about what differentiates us from our competitors – this is what ecosystem partner marketing is all about.”
Collins from GigaOm, said: “The technology landscape continues to fragment and is only going to become more dynamic. Only by working together can providers, suppliers and partners keep ahead of the game. As point products merge into platforms, end-user businesses will have to tackle the resulting waves of integration, management and cross-platform service provision, and will need all the help they can get.”
And what about on a personal level? The Coterie Community said resilience is key for channel marketers next year. As the economy tightens there will be more requirements than ever to continually justify our roles, demonstrate ROI and make sure we invest in the right things, according to Wood.
“This will in turn make us think more creatively and be innovative about where and how we spend our budgets. Technology that alleviates multiple challenges will play a part in this, as well as having a multi-talented team around us,” he said.
Reynolds from Verizon said this will encourage channel marketers to prioritise and be agile. “As channel and partner marketers, we have to make sure we have everything prioritised – that means our team focused on the right partners, our budget focused on the right strategy to drive value and our own time doing the things that will help us grow personally and as a business.”
Heather Meltvedt, Director of Partner and Ecosystem marketing EMEA LATAM at Palo Alto, agreed: “For me, it’s about being focused on less, to do more. It’s easy to get caught up in little things and feel like we have to ‘do’ all the time. But it means you have less time to focus on the things that will have the greatest impact. Doing a lot doesn’t mean anything if you can’t show the “so what”.
Curtis concluded: “It looks like channel marketers are in for yet another roller-coaster ride next year. It will also present a huge opportunity for partner marketers to shake things up, think differently and get channel marketing the recognition, funding and resourcing it needs. Having the community means we can share ideas, connect with peers and learn how to thrive in 2023 and beyond.”
Coterie Community is holding its next in-person event in London on Thursday 23rd March and meets virtually on the First Friday of every month.
About the Coterie Community:
The Coterie Community resulted from research with the University of Huddersfield highlighting partner marketing as the Cinderella of marketing. The Community secured funding in 2021 from the government body Innovate UK, which has allowed us to realise the ambition to create the Coterie Community.
Members are at the heart of everything the community thinks and does, and the offer is shaped around what is important to community founders – who represent many large multi-national brands.
The mission for the Coterie Community is twofold:
- To firmly put partner marketing on the map
- To create an influential community of partner marketers
The integrity of the community is of critical importance, as a not-for-profit – all profits generated will be invested back into members.
Founder members of the Coterie Community
Helen Curtis – founder of Coterie Community
Colleen Fogerty – Global Head of Partner & Ecosystem Marketing, Atos Tech Foundations
James Houselander – senior manager EAEA Channel marketing At Aruba, an HPE company
Lily Lazarevski – Senior Global Channel Marketing Manager at Infoblox
Heather Meltvddt – Director of Partner and Ecosystem marketing EMEA LATAM at Palo Alto
Rob Reynolds – Head of Field Marketing EMEA & GSI, International Marketing, Verizon Business Group
Barnaby Wood – EMEA Product Management, Alta SaaS Protection at Veritas Technologies