CMO Talks with IDC Program VP, Channels and Alliances Steve White

Steve White
With two years of digital transformation taking place in just a few months, IDC Program Vice President, Channels and Alliances Steve White says companies need to be cautious about the money they are spending.

In a recent CMO Talks podcast interview with ITWC President Fawn Annan, he said from a marketing perspective the rate of transformation has magnified the importance of having the right tools, the right data and insights, and also an intent to accelerate more effective marketing – because companies are now seeing less revenue come in.

When asked by Annan to share best practices for choosing who and how to support one’s channel ecosystem, White responded with a question of his own: “Do you focus on a few partners who engage deeply in marketing activities or expand to a wider audience for that multiplier effect?”

White said vendors must look for balance — look at their business in tiers. For tier one you’d have committed partners engaged across most opportunities. These partners are closely aligned to vendors. Tier two would include specialized partners, selected for specific and/or industry-specific initiatives. A potential third tier would include “broader partner ecosystem play within which you might have the stars of the future.”

At a time when people are seeking guidance on how to navigate the new normal, White conceded he doesn’t have a crystal ball. However, he said this “era” has served to magnify and accelerate a number of trends that were underway long before COVID-19 emerged.

White said the pandemic has magnified the need to look for business outcome-based technology, noting increasingly companies want something that will boost their business rather than just serve as “technology for the sake of technology.”

White was clear, however, that he does not find doom and gloom scenarios helpful.

On marketing, he said, it is growing in importance. Marketing professionals must work to bridge any existing gaps with sales. But most importantly is the element of mutual success between companies and their partners, and the role technology has in that.

“You now have some great Lego blocks to build the best tools to help partners. There are a lot of great technologies out there now that are mature. There’s a lot of great options.”

Listen to this CMO Talks podcast

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