Channel marketers depend on social media to build partnerships

For B2B marketers facing the challenge of reaching distributor, wholesalers, retailers and others in a channel of distribution, a recent report notes that 'channel' marketers are very much immersed in the digital age and their importance and influence is growing. In fact, over 70 per cent of the typical high-tech companies revenues now come from indirect channels.

B2B marketers and executives tasked with building channel relationships might be surprised to learn that channel marketers rely heavily on social media particularly Twitter, hashtags, retweets and links shared.

A recent report surveyed 368 channel marketers and by analyzing 43,963 tweets and 30,524 shared links over a four month period, not only show diversity among channel marketers, but a common trend of information gathering and sharing as imperative to staying relevant. The report also includes profiles of 50 channel marketers and offers a unique overview of their thought processes, what hashtags they use, and what content they share.

The report identifies top hashtags as #cloud, #bigdata, #analytics, #innovation, and #digitaltransformation to name a few. Additionally, channel marketers engage in conversations most often about #marketing, #social media, and #contentmarketing, the report notes.

With the increasing influence of channel marketers, social media is deemed an effective way to build partnerships, alliances and collaboration in the field. The report notes that 52 per cent of the channel marketers surveyed prefer content sources shared from YouTube, while 33 per cent share content found on LinkedIn, 14 per cent use Instagram and only 11 per cent rely on Facebook for their content. The report also notes that channel marketers tend to share content from their own brand's website, blog or partner community. Channel marketers also rely more on visual content with over half the channel marketers sharing content from YouTube. When it comes to curating or amplifying content compared to creating original content, nearly seven in ten tweets by channel marketers were considered a 'retweet.'

The report also noted that the most shared publications by channel marketers include Forbes Magazine followed by CRN, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider and TechCrunch.

By developing and sharing innovative ways to build partner networks, social media is fast emerging as a way to establish thought leadership and peer influence within their own community, the report concludes. And, channel marketers are quite social and community minded. As an example, the report reveals that Aubrey Chambers, the director of Global Oracle Solutions at Hitachi Consulting, has a twitter name of @HighHeelNerd.

Her top hashtags are #bigdata, #iot and #innovation. Her top content sources are forbes.com and businessinsider.com. Jeanne Quinn, who is the manager of social and digital experience at Cisco favors #MassWomen, #DemDebate #girlboss and #innovation as her top hashtags and her top content sources are slate.com, and blogs.cicso.com.

Meanwhile, Jeff Thein, who is VP Global Partnership Marketing at TWC, an IBM business favors #cognitiveera, #ChefWatson and #cognitivecomputing as his top hash tags, and his top content sources are fortune.com, integral.com and ibm.com.

Although some of the channel marketers personal hobbies worked their way into the report, with hastags like #weather, #hiking, #glutenfree, also are listed, some true trends emerge on where channel marketers go to build their own brand and get and share information.

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