Basic, Intermediate, Advanced: An At-a-Glance Guide to Channel Marketing

Developed by CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council to help vendors understand the best practices to marketing through the channel and enable channel partner marketing activities, this guide includes modern marketing tactics such as digital marketing, events, thought leadership, and social media and has an emphasis on how to drive engagement in a hybrid world. Quickly assess your partner’s marketing capabilities, then use the simple, visual cards and lists to determine how best to begin your marketing journey or supplement existing marketing strategies.

Download the Guide

Sizing Up a Channel Partner’s Marketing Capabilities

How advanced is your channel partner’s marketing capabilities? Review the following attributes to determine where your partner stands.

 Basic Marketing Intermediate Marketing Advanced Marketing
Size of marketing staff No dedicated marketing staff 2+ dedicated marketing staff or outsourced marketing agency 5+ dedicated marketing staff and outsourced agency
Vertical focus/specialization May not have a vertical focus May focus in 1-2 vertical markets May have multiple vertical market practices with subject matter experts on staff
Marketing process maturity No formal process in place Some formal processes, but may not have programs for vendors to leverage Formal marketing programs and processes to accommodate vendor engagement
Solutions orientation/multi-vendor approach Marketing is likely focused on company or single-vendor products May have developed an approach to messaging a multi-vendor solution Likely has formal practice areas where marketing may be vendor agnostic
Digital marketing presence
May have company social accounts but minimal activity Posts regularly on social accounts, moderate engagement with networks Regularly posts multimedia elements on social accounts, sales team actively leverages social
Web presence
Basic website May have a robust website with eCommerce; leverages some SEO Robust web site, leverages SEO and AI; may have full eCommerce capabilities
Market development funds (MDF) and co-op program utilization Ad-hoc experience managing and utilizing vendor MDF Likely to have a process to manage co-op and resources to build custom campaigns with vendor MDF Likely to have sophisticated co-op tracking tools, pre-built campaigns for MDF and resources to engage vendors
Marketing spend as a percentage of revenue Less than 2% of revenue 2%-6% of revenue More than 6% of revenue
Marketing tools/platforms
No or minimal tools or marketing platforms Leverages free or vendor-provided tools and platforms Has a full marketing automation platform
Size of customer and prospect database Small Medium Large

Vendor Channel Marketing Objectives

Once you’ve determined your channel partner’s marketing capabilities, you need to outline your marketing objectives.


Channel Engagement Tactics

You’re ready to choose your engagement tactics. Knowing your channel partner’s marketing capabilities, you can determine which tactics are manageable based on available resources and expertise. Your marketing efforts should focus on five categories of tactics.


Content Creation/Digital Assets

High quality content and digital assets can impact everything from a website’s search engine optimization to customer satisfaction.


Live, Virtual and Hybrid Events

Participation in events—or hosting your own events—helps maintain visibility, build company/brand awareness, generate leads, and build relationships.


Social Selling/Social Media

Social media marketing and social selling refer to using social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to share content, engage followers, drive traffic to a website, improve company/brand awareness, and build relationships—among other marketing goals.


Communities & Alliances

Community and alliance marketing can include marketing to groups of like-minded business professionals that meet your target audience needs or building communities with your partners.


Distribution Marketing

How you plan to get your products, goods, and services to end customers is key to rounding out your marketing tactics.


About the Channel Development Advisory Council

The Channel Development Advisory Council leverages the expertise and experience of its collective members to develop educational programs, business tools and other resources to promote the business value the technology channel brings to the tech industry. In addition, the council collaborates with CompTIA’s other industry advisory councils to advance the adoption of SaaS-based business applications, drone services, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and internet of things technologies. Learn more.

Download Document