3 Steps to Make the Most of Your Partner Marketing Budget in 2024

Anita Covelli

Director of Partner Marketing

Partner Marketing Budget

As 2024 planning ramps up, partner marketing leaders in B2B tech are under more pressure than ever to create pipeline and demonstrate ROI despite lean teams, tight budgets and shifting priorities.

The partner world is becoming more complex as the number of partner types and go-to-market motions increases, and the pace of change accelerates. In parallel, partner ecosystems are playing an increasingly strategic role in the growth of many B2B technology companies, driving scrutiny from leadership and investors. Combine these dynamics with today’s economic uncertainty, and it’s imperative for partner marketing leaders to be laser-focused on making prudent investments that deliver measurable results.

If you are a partner marketer, take these three critical steps now to set the stage for success next year.

Step 1: Validate and refine your joint messaging.

Before investing in content or demand generation, revisit your joint messaging in light of the latest industry trends and current buyer priorities. Some things to consider:

  • Is your joint messaging clear, concise and compelling?
  • Does it take emerging trends like generative AI (GenAI) into account?
  • Are you highlighting your key competitive differentiators?
  • Does it effectively articulate your “better together” story?
  • Are you addressing the priorities of technical and economic buyers?

Sync with your peers in Product Marketing to understand shifts in the competitive landscape or pivots in positioning. Check out relevant market research like TechTarget’s Highlights from Our North American 2023 IT Priorities Study. If your company has a relationship with an analyst firm, pressure-test your messaging with a third-party expert who knows your market and your buyer.

Before rolling out your refreshed joint messaging at scale, consider this advice from Laurie Mitchell, SVP of Global Marketing at Wasabi Technologies:

“…identify a couple of partners to test out your joint messaging together and then grow it from there. That way, you learn and fail fast, and you tweak and adjust. And then once you know where it resonates, you can … expand to other channel partners.”

Step 2: Prudently fill gaps in your content library.

Now that your messaging is on point, confirm the buying team for your joint solution and take stock of your content library to ensure you can effectively tell your “better together” story throughout the buyer’s journey. Some considerations:

  • Which assets will support the awareness, consideration and decision stages?
  • Which thought leadership pieces will fuel acquisition campaigns?
  • Do you have content to independently verify the technical capabilities of your joint solution?
  • Are you quantifying the economic impact of your joint solution?
  • Are there new assets from Product Marketing that you can repurpose?

Here is a suggested action plan:

  • Check TechTarget’s 2022-2023 North American Media Consumption and Vendor Engagement Study for insights into how B2B technology buyer conduct industry research, gather information about vendors and engage with content.
  • Conduct a content inventory to understand what you have available today and map your existing content by persona and by stage.
  • Assess current assets against your refined messaging and refresh them as needed. Pinpoint gaps and prioritize creating assets with the potential to improve conversion rates.
  • To stretch your budget, identify assets to repurpose into derivative content and investigate GenAI tools to help you scale content production and re-use.
  • Invest in having a third-party industry expert craft the independent content buyers crave such as research-based e-books and webinars, self-assessments and ROI/TCO calculators, and technical/economic validations.

Amy McNew, Sr. Director of North American Ecosystems Marketing at Palo Alto Networks, provided some sage advice in our recent webinar, Guiding the IT Buying Journey: Strategies for Partner Marketing:

“… we’re seeing that buying decisions [are] requiring more and more stakeholders. In the past, Palo Alto Networks… would target our product users. They’re trying to manage the intricacies of their organization’s security infrastructure [and] want to understand what’s going to make their lives easier. But with things like vendor sprawl [and] tighter budgets, we’re seeing the C-level come into the conversation earlier … and wondering ‘How is this going to help my bottom line?’ We make sure that … our partners … understand that they need to target both sets of audiences, because both are going to play a critical role in that deal.”

Step 3: Focus on lead quality and conversion into partner pipeline.

Your partner marketing budget is squandered if your top-of-funnel leads are of questionable quality or if they aren’t properly engaged and nurtured after showing initial interest in your joint solution.

When budgets are tight, it can be tempting to select a vendor based solely on cost-per-lead (CPL). But, as we all know, not all leads are created equal. Firmographic and demographic targeting only goes so far – what matters today is reaching active buyers showing real and recent interest in solutions like yours. Leverage purchase intent data to build your target account list. Be willing to pay a premium to reach the right contacts at these accounts. Interview potential vendors to find the best fit:

  • What is your reach in our market and our relevant geographies?
  • How does your audience align with our ideal customer profile?
  • How do you acquire your audience? Are your leads GDPR- and CCPA-compliant?
  • What techniques do you use to understand purchase intent?
  • What is your strategy for reaching active buyers in my target audience?

Before pulling the trigger on a demand generation campaign, align with your partner(s) on a conversion strategy and ensure you have the buy-in and support you need from other teams.

If you are going to market with a strategic alliance partner:

  • Set clear rules of engagement so you and your partner aren’t duplicating efforts.
  • Build a nurture program in your or your partner’s marketing automation platform.
  • Arm SDRs with resources like an Outreach sequence to drive timely and relevant follow-up.

If you are going to market at scale through partner-led campaigns, deliver turnkey messaging, brandable materials, and step-by-step guidance to help even less mature partners effectively engage and convert leads into registered opportunities.

In both go-to-market scenarios, consider investing in solutions like TechTarget’s Confirmed Projects to jumpstart partner pipeline creation with sales-ready leads.

How we can help

Planning for how to invest your partner marketing budget in 2024? TechTarget’s dedicated Partner Marketing Services team can help refine your joint messaging, deliver compelling content to fuel the buyer’s journey, and generate better leads that convert into partner pipeline. Learn more about our solutions for Strategy, Content and Demand or connect with us to explore how we can help.

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