Less Than a quarter of IT Channel Partners use Brand-Funded Marketing Platform

Extu, a leader in through-channel marketing solutions for global IT partners and brands, today announced the result of its 2018 Pulse of the Channel survey (three surveys collected information from 507 North American IT channel partners). Above all else, the data highlights the fact that only 23 percent of partners report accessing a brand-provided marketing platform on a monthly basis in the past year, with many partners saying they simply don’t have enough time to engage with a marketing platform. Nevertheless, the survey also shows that many channel partners are interested in receiving more marketing support from brands, particularly as an incentive. The results suggest there is plenty of room for brands to help partners use marketing platforms more effectively and efficiently.

Partners don’t have time, bandwidth for marketing

Only 23 percent of IT channel partners say they have accessed or used a brand-provided marketing platform on a monthly basis in the last year.

More than half of partners said that they didn’t use the platform because it was too time-consuming or they lacked the resources/bandwidth to put it into action. Fourteen percent of partners said they did not see value in the marketing platform.

Here are the reasons that channel partners who are not using brand-provided marketing platforms provided for their non-use:

Reason for non-utilization Percentage
Lack of time 38%
Lack of resources/bandwidth 18%
Don’t see enough value 14%
Difficult to use 10%
Other 20%

“The lack of utilization indicates that the marketing support available to partners does not align with the majority of channel partners’ needs,” said Extu founder and CEO, Joel Montgomery. “And yet, the desire and demand for marketing support among partners clearly exists. Brands and their marketing partners need to do more to help partners achieve their marketing goals.”

Many IT SMB focused channel partners spend little on marketing

If partners aren’t using the marketing resources provided to them by brands, they are unlikely to be engaged in any serious marketing at all. 52% of partners spend less than $5,000 per year on marketing, while 10 percent spend $0.

Marketing spend Percentage
$0 10%
$0-$500 per year 10%
$500-$1,000 per year 10%
$1,000-$5,000 per year 22%
$5,000-$10,000 per year 18%
$10,000-$50,000 per year 17%
$50,000+ per year 6%
I don’t know 6%

Furthermore, the marketing that IT channel partners are conducting is overwhelmingly non-digital. Among partners who spend less than $5,000 a year on marketing, less than a quarter are meeting the recommended digital spending target of 40%. Things are better, but not that much better among partners who spend more than $5,000 a year: 38% are hitting the recommended digital spending target.

Meet recommended spend on digital (%) Marketing spend
23% of partners Less than $5,000 a year
38% of partners More than $5,000 a year

Marketing services and training incentivize partners to sell

There are clear indications that providing marketing services to channel partners is an effective way to address a key pain point for these SMBs and increase partner loyalty. The Pulse of the Channel survey also found that 20% of channel partners said they would be most likely to sell a brand’s products if they were provided partner marketing services or marketing training. The most popular incentive is cash, with 36% of partners reporting they would be most likely to sell a company’s products if provided with cash incentives.

While partners signaled that there are a variety of incentives that would make them more likely to sell, here is what they said would be most likely to motivate them.

Incentives Percentage
Monetary rewards 36%
Partner marketing services/training 20%
Invites to brand events 16%
Brand purchasing credits 14%
Partner recognition (awards/certificates) 11%

“Extu’s Pulse of the Channel survey shows that channel partners understand the benefits of marketing, but they simply don’t have time or money to invest in marketing at this point,” said Montgomery. “Brands should challenge the norm and explore options to drive dramatically higher platform utilization through a through-channel marketing system that makes it as easy as possible for partners to participate in brand-provided marketing efforts.”


About Extu

Extu is a platform-enabled marketing solutions provider unlocking the power of the indirect marketing channel and supercharging a brand’s return on investment. Extu offers channel partners hands-off, sophisticated marketing services fully funded by some of the largest brands across the globe. Through a mix of high-quality digital marketing, innovative content, promotions and insights, Extu helps channel partners acquire new clients and engage their existing customers.

The company was founded in 2008 in Sydney, Australia and has operated in the US since 2015, when it opened offices in Austin, TX. Extu serves more than 2,500 channel partners in North America, reaching 3 million IT buyers each month.