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What Forrester’s 2023 global predictions mean for partner marketers

Forrester has released their 2023 predictions and they make for interesting reading.

Subtitled “Fortune Favours the Focused and Bold” they highlight upfront the issue of trust, and just how weary and sceptical many customers and employees have become over the past few years. And there are some big takeaways for the world of marketing.

Digital is getting commercial 

You would have to have been hiding under a rock not to know that things are shifting quickly among the digital giants such as Facebook/ Meta, Twitter and others. Elon Musk doing what he does best and disrupting aside, it feels like a big dose of financial squeezing is hitting everyone right now. Tech organizations are known for being blue-sky innovators, but right now they need to be revenue (and profit) generators as investors ride out an unpredictable market by turning to traditional ‘safer bets’. 

Which has led in part to layoffs and a great deal of upheaval. Yet Forrester offers us an interesting silver lining: that more traditional organizations may benefit from recruiting digital experts and marketing gurus who would have once looked to the thrill of a tech career and now want more stability. What does this mean for partner marketeers? Well, some of your partners may be looking to you as their marketing and digital teams shrink. So, time to build out your own digital marketing efforts perhaps? 

Going beyond ‘green’ 

Forrester captures the mood with their predictions here. With energy and food costs, COP 27 and climate change affecting pretty much everyone, sustainability and ‘green’ choices are front of mind. If you haven’t already you may want to assess your partner ecosystem based on their green credentials and check out who is talking and who is doing. Greenwashing won’t wash anymore in 2023. If you don’t know where to start let us know – some of our clients we’re proud to say are true leaders in this area. Or if you have a sustainability team, get their input on what to be looking for and asking about.  

A shift from ‘demand’ to ‘experience’ in B2B 

It’s fair to say that for a long time B2B in general lagged behind its consumer cousins when it came to driving better, positive, end to end customer experience. That gap is fast closing, but Forrester predicts it won’t be easy sailing. My reading of their prediction here: stop restructuring your people, start restructuring your business model and processes around customer experience. For tech organizations already trying to pivot to services this should be a natural part of that process, but change isn’t easy. Plus, Forrester further predicts that CX investment will come under the microscope, and as belts tighten may be de-prioritized. One partner will often be the one with the direct relationship with the customer, so finding ways to share customer information comfortably (and mindful of legislation) is likely to become a more common ask, while the experience element may end up sitting firmly with GSPs, SPs and SI’s. This could create some new criteria to consider when looking at which vendor or SP/SI you want to focus your sales and marketing efforts on Tech skills shortage drives review of service providers 

A big prediction for the channel; Forrester sees technology executives looking to source new SPs to plug big skills gaps. A more diverse mix of SPs in each account in therefore on the cards. This of course echos the shift to ecosystems vs traditional partnerships, but it also means greater competition within accounts and a growing need to nurture customers engaged with multiple partners. 

Predictions mean opportunities for partner marketing 

The report signs off advising that ongoing uncertainty demands a steady approach (read “don’t panic”). Delivering reliable returns on investment and meaningful results as the world changes around us can be challenging for partner marketeers – but Forrester’s predictions suggest that there are opportunities here too. And I agree with Forrester in their recommendation to be focused and bold; focused on your customers, focused on driving results and bold in finding smarter, quicker ways to do that. 

Get in touch to find out how the Coterie team can help. Give us a call on 0113 292 0945 or email us at [email protected]

Written by: Shelley Hutton, Delivery Lead, Coterie

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