What will 2023 bring for channel marketers? It's not what you'd expect.

In this opinion piece, founder of vendor-agnostic partner forum Coterie Community, Helen Curtis, shares her top predictions

clock • 5 min read
What will 2023 bring for channel marketers? It's not what you'd expect.

Helen Curtis is the founder of the Coterie Community, a non-profit dedicated to elevating channel and partner marketing by uniting partner marketers from vendors, ISVs, systems integrators and service providers.

In this opinion piece, she shares some of the top predictions from 2023, drawing together learnings from peers in the channel.

What will matter most to channel marketers in 2023?

As the saying goes, ‘It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future'. But fellow founder members of the non-profit Coterie Community and I sat down over a coffee or two and mapped out what we think will be the big trends for channel marketers in 2023.

And we even got personal!

From a tech and strategic perspective, everyone agreed that sustainability, everything-as-a-service (XaaS) and a more collaborative ecosystem strategy, will top the priority list this year.  

Sustainability is already on many corporate agendas (Gartner's latest CEO survey had it in the top 10 priorities for the first time in the history of the report) and it will only become a higher priority in 2023.

Rob Reynolds who is 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.

But he said, to generate value it has to be about substance not just strategy and businesses must align themselves with a sustainability mindset and be actively pursuing ESG targets.

Other community members agreed. James Houselander who is Senior Manager, EMEA Channel Marketing, HPE Aruba, said as well as a trend it will also be a challenge - but one that's worth tackling. For channel marketers, he said, getting to grips with compliance, and then using that to help drive competitive advantage could make a real difference.

Jon Collins, who is VP of Research at GiGaOm, channel watcher and friend of the community, said measurability is crucial and that channel organisations should ensure they see a role for impactful sustainability, rather than just in marketing.

As we pondered over coffee number two, Lily Lazarevski, who is the Senior Global Channel Marketing Manager at Infoblox, said she's seeing an industry shift to XaaS that she thinks will boom this year.

She said this means channel marketers need to focus on filling the funnel faster because more subscription deals are needed to equal the pre-Xaas revenue and mitigate churn - something she's already noticing.

All the community members concurred that transformation is rife.

Houselander added that this transformation is having a knock-on effect that's widespread across the channel driving more personnel movement, a different skill requirement and a focus on a customer-centric strategy.

Lazarevski believes it's this move to everything-as-a-service that's driving the third trend the community highlighted; tighter, more collaborative ecosystems. She said success will require the entire partner ecosystem to work in a matrixed model to create, sell and market comprehensive solutions that deliver customer value.

The impact of this will be to drive channel marketers to get hands-on and do a bit of everything, according to another Coterie Community co-founder, Barnaby Wood, who is EMEA Product Management at Veritas Technologies.

He said this year channel marketers need to focus on increasing their alignment with sales, educating the entire business on ‘why channel marketing', and making the whole process more collaborative and effective.

Click through to Page 2 - 2023: The year channel marketing starts to matter 

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