Reflecting on 2023 what will stand out in your memory? Global unrest? Inflationary highs? Perhaps the rise of Barbenheimer? Whatever resonates from the past 12 months, it’s safe to say 2024 is going to be another turbulent year for partner marketers. We don’t have a crystal ball, but based on more than a decade of market experience, here’s what we think will be dominating the headlines next year.
- You’ll be using AI daily
Building on the 2023 hype, we anticipate a focus on real-world applications for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 2024. As the tech most cited by CEOs as having the biggest impact on their business, according to Gartner, it will become a differentiator for marketers within service providers and partners as they increasingly compete on their AI services and credentials. You won’t lose your job to AI, but you could lose it to someone who knows how to use AI properly.
- Marketplaces will be key
Marketplaces are predicted to grow to more than $45bn - an 84% CAGR by 2025, and next year marks a crucial juncture in this trajectory. Services are being added to these platforms as they become destinations for simple, swift technology and services purchasing. We expect conversations from regulators about transparency and fairness when it comes to who can offer services and solutions while governing quality and ensuring offers are genuine.
- Prioritising MDF
With elections in the UK, Germany, US, Russia, India and Iran next year to name but a few, this political and socioeconomic unrest will likely mean that marketing budgets will remain flat. This will exert more pressure on vendors prompting them to seek partners to drive marketing in innovative new ways and get creative with the budgets they do have. Expect heightened scrutiny on MDF spending, resulting in less flexibility and greater clarity on ROI to secure funding.
- Channel-first approach
M&A activity, headcount reductions and shareholder pressure will drive more vendors to the channel next year to drive sales momentum. Partner-delivered technology and services will account for more than 70% of the global total addressable IT market during 2023, according to Canalys, and we see this number increasing next year as new and traditional vendors cosy up to partners to drive market share and growth.
- RO – why?
Measuring marketing effectiveness has always been a nebulous process. For partner marketers relying on partner data, this is made infinitely more challenging by being one step removed from this process. And yet, in 2024 we believe the need to prove ROI will grow as organisations look to tighten spending where they can. Consequently, we anticipate vendors will start to prioritise and invest more with partners that can accurately demonstrate and report on ROI.
- Buying shift = marketing shift
Marketers must adapt to the buying shift as more business executives – rather than technology professionals – make purchasing decisions in 2024.
Savvy marketers will reflect this change in campaigns and sales enablement programmes by actively supporting a business messaging approach. Expect new roles and personas with distinct needs and purchasing dynamics, different from the traditional IT audience, to be targeted.
- ABM as standard
Accounting Based Marketing (ABM) will become a standard fixture in integrated marketing strategies rather than the ‘specialism’ it’s often positioned as. As ABM matures next year, partner and vendor marketing teams will conduct joint campaigns to win customer mind and wallet share. We also expect to see more Partner Based Marketing – with vendors continuously and strategically targeting partners that are critical to revenue targets.
- Ecosystems everywhere
We’re all operating in an ecosystem whether we acknowledge that or not. But in 2024, this will become more pronounced and drive a shift in partner marketing. Vendors that were creating messaging and campaigns, and mapping customer journeys with two partners, now need to consider on average seven partners and a customer all as part of the buying process. Expect questions throughout the year about how this changes the dynamics of partner marketing.
The landscape of partner marketing stands on the cusp of transformation in 2024. From the ubiquity of AI to the pivotal role of marketplaces and the imperative for demonstrable ROI, these trends will redefine strategies and reshape partnerships in the next 12 months. Do these predictions align with your expectations, or do you have your own? Whatever does occur, the coming year promises to be a pivotal chapter in the ever-evolving world of partner marketing.