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  • Larry Gregory

Partner Marketing Evidence Model

Marketing is an essential element of all software businesses, but partner marketing is often overlooked or under-represented.  It requires thoughtful planning and assumes that partners are an essential part of your sales strategy. The purpose of partner marketing is to:

  1. Create examples that help attract and recruit non-partners,

  2. Activate existing partners to align with your latest product releases,

  3. Support sales activities for early adopter partners, and

  4. Attract end customer interest.

Develop partner support during your product development process, aligning partner messaging with your product themes and news cycle, thereby amplifying your visibility when you release to market.

Partner Marketing Strategy

Attract and Recruit Non-Partners – You can demonstrate how partners can be successful with your offerings by highlighting innovation (a new scenario addressed by leveraging your underlying product capabilities) or by telling customer stories (how a customer is better served by leveraging the innovation in their context).  The latter is more impactful as it will carry more weight with press, partners, and customers. This customer context can be particularly compelling in your efforts to attract new strategic alliances.

Activate Existing Partners – There is a natural distribution of early adopter, mainstream, and laggard technology adopters among your existing partner ecosystem.  Providing examples of partner success via partner marketing provides subtle pressure on the mainstream and laggard partners to educate themselves on the features of your latest release and consider activation (initiating development using the latest product release).

Support Sales Activities for Early Adopter Partners – partners that bet on new technology early expect a return on that investment.  Providing customer and press visibility to those partners rewards their efforts and gives them an opportunity to monetize their first-mover investment.

Attract End Customer Interest – Enabling partners to tell your story is a win/win scenario.  Partner marketing helps you amplify your to-customer messaging.  In addition, you gain credibility by having that messaging delivered by a third party.

Partner Marketing Evidence Model

How do you know what partner marketing evidence is most valuable?  What kinds of partner solutions best enable the 4 objectives above?

The Partner Marketing Evidence Model provides a way to assess the impact of partner projects by scoring Customer Context, Partner Scope, Marketing Visibility, Competitive Displacement, Internal Sales Influence, Innovation Recognition, and Alliance Leverage.  The paper includes criteria for evaluating market impact across each of these dimensions and a scoring mechanism for judging silver, gold, and platinum quality marketing evidence.

The Partner Marketing Evidence Model is available in the Resources area.

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