A Look Back at 2018 Through a “Digital Marketing for the Channel” Lens Previous item A Look Back at 2018: SMB... Next item Fall Varnex Conference...

As we near the end of 2018, it is important to step back and reflect upon the milestones that occurred before jumping into setting priorities for the coming year. That is why each December, the EDGE360 editorial team reaches out to our regular contributors to get their thoughts on the year.

Molly Sherwood, Director, Business Development

We had the opportunity to sit down with Molly Sherwood, Director, Product Marketing at Westcon-Comstor. Molly is responsible for leading the marketing and business development team that helps customers grow their businesses. Molly has had an exciting year in 2018 – she was named to the  CRN Top 100 Women in the Channel and has been an advocate for embracing diversity in the channel. She also set goals for continued growth, and with the acquisition of Westcon-Comstor by SYNNEX Corporation, Molly focused much of her time on aligning the teams, tapping into new resources, and growing the business.

Enabling digital marketing strategies has been one of the many ways that Molly has seen success this past year. She recently shared with us where she saw the greatest impact on the channel in terms of marketing in 2018. Here is what she had to say:

What were the biggest milestones for the channel in 2018?

Smaller partners and IT resellers don’t always have marketing top of mind. They often focus on the technology or IT solutions to enable customers. But one of the biggest milestones in 2018 has been the realization for many channel partners that digital marketing and data are an important part of the business. They have come to understand the importance of having a digital marketing practice and are taking steps to align their sales and marketing activities accordingly.

Were there any new trends /or shift in focus that changed or improved the channel?

As a channel, we’ve redefined digital from relying solely on traditional push email campaigns to more omnichannel approaches. We know that there are many ways to nurture a relationship and connect with a partner, IT reseller, or customer.  Data and data analytics play a major role in ensuring that our engagement is impactful and effective. We also have been able to leverage our content and align it with data analytics and social-selling techniques for greater impact.

What were the lessons learned from the channel in 2018?

In the past, there hasn’t been a true understanding of the customer or how they engage in the buying cycle. We’ve learned from our efforts in the past and now are more focused on the customer journey. Today, channel partners are savvier about understanding customer personas and buying cycles, therefore they can better engage with customers throughout the customer journey.

How would you define 2018?

Overall, 2018 was the year that digital marketing took off in the channel and the data insights realized from the marketing efforts played a significant role in how resellers, partners, distributors connected and engaged with key audiences. So if I had to define 2018, I would say that it was the year of digital insights.