025 - Creating Demand with Partner Marketing - Alex Wright

Whoah, whoah, whoah, look who is back!

It's us, PartnerUp. It's been too long but after a brief hiatus, we are coming back at you with THREE new shows to scoot you into that summer mood and a regular cadence for the next several months.

No more interruptions.

For the first episode we sit down with Alex Wright and dissect how Adobe generates demand with their partners.

If you haven't seen partner marketing at this scale, you're going to love how Alex talks about creating demand with partners and being an integral part of your company's marketing team.

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Jared Fuller  00:20
Actually, what's funny, I'm actually going to call an audible right here, because I didn't tell either of you about this. But there's this big story that just broke just now. Alex, I don't know if you have any insight into this or Justin, if you have any hot takes, but have you if you are either Have you heard about the story? Because this is very like ecosystem related of fortnight and apple? are either of you familiar with this?

Justin Bartels  00:44
I've heard of rumblings of them potentially not being happy with each other. Is that what's going on? Well,

Jared Fuller  00:49
okay, so have you ever downloaded an app on your phone? Yeah. And you go to sign up? And then it's like, you know, login. But you're like, wait a second login? Why can't I? Why can't I create an account? It's because it's a paid service, right. And if ecommerce is enabled on the App Store, then Apple takes 30% of the cut, right? So any transactions, I actually just went through this with ExpressVPN, as a matter of fact. So I went through this with ExpressVPN, had a very seamless process, where they basically direct me to the website, created the account, pay and all of that, and then go back and get the app. Because if you do e commerce in the app, Apple takes 30%. Well, fortnight, went around this and allowed it somehow, through some, I don't know, the particulars allowed, basically upgrades that might have been tied to their account to happen in the app. So Apple's like, give us your money, you know, beside the other, well, Microsoft basically skirted the app, the App Store in a very similar way, so you have a very interesting clash of two of the most interesting or large kind of ecosystems, if you will, coming to a head of, you know, apple, and Microsoft. I, I'm, I'm curious. Who do you think is going to get the upper hand on this one, you have, like the leader in consumer, the light, and then the juggernaut of enterprise kind of, you know, incumbency, so, so to speak. Who's gonna win, Justin.

Justin Bartels  02:34
I mean, I definitely see more Apple infiltration. I see Microsoft infiltration these days. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  02:41
but you're the same person that would say that, that slack is kicking Microsoft Teams, but But yeah, that's because I'm with organizers.

Justin Bartels  02:49
I'm working at startups is Why? You know, I'm not working for an you know, an Adobe, like Alex here, but I I'm a little far from that, Alex.

Alex Wright  02:58
I mean, I mean, Microsoft, huge partner of Adobe, right? Love that relationship. And Apple plays a big role in that space really well, and highly largely so. I don't know how Apple gets beat here. But

Jared Fuller  03:13
yeah, I feel like because it's on the consumer forefront and not the enterprise forefront that the consumer experience Apple's gonna went out on. And anyways, we're just we're just like hopping in going straight into stuff. Alex, right, everybody, welcome to partner up. Justin, how'd you get? Um, how'd you? How'd you get connected to Alex here? Cuz I think you were, we were looking to bring back some partner marketing. Because that's just always an amazing topic of everyone. thinking like, Hey, here's how we market with partners. We wanted to see who was the best maybe and you got some leads or something?

Justin Bartels  03:46
Yeah, I mean, I prayed to the LinkedIn community. I reached out to my network. I said, Hey, who's the best partner marketer you should know. And probably a little bias because most I'm probably 40% of my connections are Adobe employees given my line of work, but time and time again, there was several recommendations for Alex right? From his peers, which it says a lot, right? And they would go out of their way to make that recommendation both dming me sending me an email as well as replying right to the to the post so

Jared Fuller  04:16
so we know exactly how lame. Yeah, we know. We will. Okay, we'll put that in the show notes. Everyone that commented Alex snogging. Alex, welcome to partner up, man. Happy to have you. Excited to be here. Definitely. So we're going to talk about all things partner marketing and kind of phrasing, we're kind of talking prior to market to market with market through and how you've kind of learned some of these pivotal lessons. You have to kind of in your tenure at Adobe and thinking about this is you know, kind of a leader in I mean, marketing in the space Adobe might be the second largest software company in the world, but is absolutely The number one as it relates to marketing. So there might be some tips and tricks that you could share that all of us in startup land or those of us on the other side of the table might be able to apply. I'm thinking one thing that is very interesting to me, is how you start to position yourself inside of an organization like Adobe, because partner marketing can mean a lot of different things. There's technology, there's, there is obviously agency solution partners. And in the context of your function today, your primary focus has been on the solution side, that kind of agency and the broad base of partnerships that span across multiple products. Is that correct? Yeah, that's correct. Until like, the DX side of the business, or should I say cjm? Is it? Yeah, yes. dx. Yeah. Okay, so you got juggernauts like em? Right. So that's the largest DSP to marchetto, Magento. All of that?

Alex Wright  06:07
Correct. Yeah. And as well as target analytics. So yeah, the whole stack.

Jared Fuller  06:14
So maybe that's the first question that I would love to think through. You have this portfolio of products that you represent. And those portfolio of products mapped to use cases, but potentially also verticals. And then you have this partner ecosystem? Where do you start partner marketing initiatives? Do you look at it through the lens of product? Do you look at it through the lens of vertical? Do you look at it through the lens of, you know, let's say partner type? Because there's a lot if you go to service everyone the same way? I'm assuming not gonna really work?

Alex Wright  06:53
Yeah, I mean, I think you look at a couple different ways. One, I think you do have to look at partners that work with those solutions and have deployments against those solutions, you wouldn't use partner x, that can't work with marchetto opportunities, then, but at the same time, I think we also looked at partners that have vertical expertise, right, we were talking about this before we started, there are partners that work in certain spaces. From an industry perspective, that makes the most sense, they have those relationships, they have those deployments. And it's super important, right? That when we develop a strategy to go to market strategy, with the partner, we make sure that we're confident in what these partners are able to do, they have the story in the background. So when we go into a conversation with a potential opportunity, they can share the success of like, Hey, we know where you've been. And we can get you where you want to go. And here's a great example of a peer of yours. That was in a similar situation. So I think a lot of times, we have to look at kind of a couple different areas, right? You got to understand the deployment of that product, you have to understand a deployment against a certain industry, right? When you look at whether it's healthcare fsai are great examples, where there's a lot of legality behind that. And there have to be partners that understand that accessibility and so forth. And so that's how we build that kind of strategy. And we were kind of talking about this at the beginning, right, which was around that go to market strategy, right? And it's not just Hey, partner marketing comes in and, and we just start doing events, or we start doing this or that we work through this kind of motion of enablement, right, and working with partners to understand, Hey, where are you best fit within the business? And that includes solutions. And then, you know, verticals and industries, and then we look at those deployments, like where are you in the market, right, and then we talk about creating those use cases and stories, and then we develop that marketing plan, that's going to help us go and create new business for both partner and Adobe.

Jared Fuller  08:48
So let's talk about this in the context, maybe, since there's such a broad, broad topic, let's put the lens of the maybe the partner lifecycle in front of us, right, and you're gonna have different different phases of maturity. So let's take a new partner to the ecosystem. They've made some commitment to, you know, to Adobe, so they've said, Hey, we want to specialize in something. Are they coming in saying they're gonna specialize in a product? Or it's more the brand? Is it? How are they self selecting in or being prospected? into the ecosystem? Is it around a product specialty? Is it around vertical? Some combination?

Alex Wright  09:33
Yeah, I mean, I would think is probably closer that product side to start, I mean, just my perception of it, because it has to be some type of Adobe solution that they're, they're supporting, as far as like a new partner coming in, and we have this from time to time where we have a partner come up and say, Hey, we want to do marketing with you. And then I say, well, let's have a conversation with you, our partner manager and myself and understand like where we sit right, and in a lot of times when they're newer partners, we We quickly learned that, hey, there's a couple steps ahead before marketing comes into the picture. And that's around enablement. Well, we're new Adobe partner Great. Well, let's work around the enablement piece to make sure that your team is up to speed on the Adobe stack. And then let's use Marketo as an example, that we understand how to sell marchetto and how to have and how to deploy against marchetto. Before we go into a marketing motion, and so I think those book very quickly become the conversations that we have with the partner and the Partner Manager. In this the partner team in general, to say, Hey, there are a couple of steps ahead of marketing, before we can create a go to market strategy from a marketing perspective.

Jared Fuller  10:40
So I think you just gave away a bunch of answers to the test, and you might not have realized it. Here's what Here's what I mean by that. I feel like a lot of organizations, I mean, agencies are a tough business, you're trading time for money. At the end of the day, it's time for money. You know, Alex, you monetize intellectual property, or you monetize technology, right? In the form of intellectual property, they monetize intellectual property in the form of services, right? So there's always some like, hey, help us, help us help us. What you just said was, there's gonna be some steps before we're doing proper kind of like co marketing might be the way that you'd phrase it. But what are those steps that you would skip? It would be the success stories, right? Like the demonstrated competency, in some specialization around a product or solution. Right. I think the partners that we've done some great stuff with here adrift, like, we'll probably have him on. So I'll shout him out, Matt, from ROI DNA, he's, he's gonna be featured on the drift blog, I think next month, so I'm doing some great stuff with him, but demonstrated his competency him and his team has gone out there and just figured it out. And we didn't have all the answers to the test. How do you think about communicating that, so you don't have to take as many of those calls like, it's almost about marketing, the marketing program, like setting the stage in the context, because I feel like being in this world, I waste a lot of cycles on Manage mismanaged, like managing mismanaged expectations of partners to think, Okay, I'm going to come in, you're going to teach me how to service sell, support your product, and you're going to make me famous. Like that, whenever Justin and I were first talking when he was at perficient, that is exactly what he was like saying to me the entire time, he was like, Jared, you need to teach me everything you need to build this practice inside of our company, and you need to drive us a ton of

Justin Bartels  12:48
business. Jared wasn't talking to power at that point.

Jared Fuller  12:56
But so I think this is something what you just demonstrated was like, why is that common? Like, you'd think after all of the cycles of agencies working with different technology companies, that the people that figured out go, you know, we need to place our bets, right? So we can partner with every technology company, we want to partner with a handful of select, and we need to go build this specialty, or this competency, or, and go when and show something. And then I can come to Alex and say he'd be silly to not put this in front of your customers. Right? Why haven't partner marketers and me everyone else, it's like, we're always having those conversations. And like, here's some steps before we can do co marketing. I'd love to hear if you think there's, you know, something we haven't maybe thought of or something that you've witnessed where it's like, hey, whenever you approach it this way, partners tend to come a little bit more prepped.

Alex Wright  13:52
Yeah, I mean, I think any any person who works on the Alliance's side and is trying to build a new relationship, I mean, they're scrappy, right? And they're trying to figure out every which way to get in the market. How do we get work with Adobe specifically for us? And so you can actually fault them that saying, hey, how do we how do we create marketing activity together? Right, because that's what they're being tasked to do. Right? And so you can't even blame them to come into us and doing that. I do think that and what I've seen a lot less and this really the conversations have been far and few between as of recently is we are in lockstep with the partner managers right to say, hey, here are your group of partners are their newer ones are ones that are building new practices, for example. They've been a marquetta shop for a long time. And now they're, they're, they're dipping their toes into ADM, right? Well, we're not going to go develop a demand Gen program around ATM until we feel confident that the deployments are there. But they have they've got to get their feet wet some way right? So you can't really blame them for coming to us going. Okay, let's create demand and activity and we're happy. We're we're excited. To hear that, but I will say that it is really being in lockstep with our partner managers to say, hey, like, Are we here yet? No, well, no, we're not. Okay, well, then let's table this meeting for a few months. And I've had this conversation as of recently, because we have some amazing partner managers that come forth ahead of time, say, Hey, I got this partner wants to do this, and that we have a conversation with him at a time. And I say, I think we need to wait a couple months, until the deployments are there. But also, I actually like being brought into conversation, because sometimes that market to aspect, but we need to be marketing to the partner around Hey, your your company is investing further in Adobe. And so we I want to be able to be there for you and remind you around like your invest your company's investing in this, either you either understand it or are, are good with or whatever it is, we want to share with you those details, we want to give you product information and whatever it takes to enable your team to be able to cross sell Adobe. Right, and so that market to piece is as important.

Justin Bartels  16:05
Yeah, and I think it's I think it's also important, one thing I found that works well as saying, All right, say we drive a bunch of leads. And now they're in discussions about maybe new Adobe technology in which place, that partner is going to implement that talk and Technology, I do feel comfortable doing that, like, like, do you think that's gonna go well, and you're gonna create a case study that that you can then go and use to gain more customers? Or do you feel like you don't quite have the chops yet to, you know, get that first win on a net new deal, because if it goes sideways, you know, that's not going to be great, like, it's gonna put us back for months, we're better off treating this much kind of like developing a new product, it's really what it is, from a service perspective, you're developing a new product. And typically companies don't start by marketing their product first, and then selling it and then building it per se, maybe some do. But usually, it's alright, let's do an early access program or like a pilot with some of our existing customers to get their feedback, to work out the kinks, build the stories, that so that we can then take it to market with that story, put some marketing resources behind it, sell it, you know, with our partners, etc. So I think it's helpful to kind of walk them through of like, Alright, so we draw a bunch of leads, then what happens? You know, is that going to go? Well, for both of us? Is that going to make you really successful in our ecosystem? And vice versa? Or is it going to go sideways somewhere?

Alex Wright  17:23
Yeah. And I also think it was really important that we have the buy in from leadership, both, you know, I said, in marketing, I don't sit on the partner side, even though I'm part of marketing, but to have that buy in from both our partner Marketing Leaders, as well as our partner leaders to set those expectations with the partner. And I think Adobe does a very good job of that, with both Anna and Tony to say, okay, we're going to set the expectations around what a partnership looks like, especially for partners that are developing and getting larger and creating a better and bigger use case, library of opportunities. Quick,

Jared Fuller  17:57
quick follow up on that. You were talking about this, I'm developing a product Justin, which the best agencies know how to kind of productize a service and make things kind of predictable and put their own spin on it that isn't just x product implementation, right? There's something more nuanced or special about that. Oftentimes, this is why from years of yore, these were called you know, value added resellers, right before when they actually did buy the software on behalf of obviously, with SAS, they're a little bit a little bit rare in our world. So they're adding some value on top of your base practices. And Alex, you said, we need to make sure there's competency in the core things like the Adobe way for an am implementation, maybe some customer health benchmarks, some key milestones in an onboarding journey or an implementation or some curve of maturity. How do you evaluate that in partner marketing? I'm assuming that's another function. Is that delivery, is that I'm assuming the Partner Manager is not the one that really is responsible for that? How do you kind of have that quality control on partner delivery to ensure that you're marketing with the right people?

Alex Wright  19:23
Yeah, loaded question. Right. I think me I think what I know I keep going back to this, right. But we're in lockstep with the partner Mark manager, right and understanding as far as once we get to that marketing x aspect, and then the deployment right and in creating new opportunities into deployment, and seeing that go through, right, and then you see those partners continue to do more and more, that actually gives you that vote of confidence that like, hey, like, this is a really great go to market partner and seeing those opportunities being created. I think if you fast forward a little bit, hopefully this is where you're going if you're fast forward. That that deployment that creates an opportunity to create and the deployment happens and, and we win that opportunity. And then we market more, we're going to continue to get more of those. And so I think that's the the vote of confidence, we have to see those come to fruition you see those close one opportunities, and in go from there. And hopefully that answers your question,

Jared Fuller  20:21
what I was looking for is, the Partner Manager is the one sort of making the call. And I was curious if you interfaced with, let's say, the delivery Team Services, etc, around kind of partner competency. Because there is, um, there is the ability to lose what Adobe thinks is success. And the partners unique spin, for example, you might have a partner that is focused specifically on let's say, retargeting, right? Like, there, there have been a traditionally ad agency spend oriented kind of agency, and they've just started to break into more like, kind of nurture and customer journey management with Marketo. So they might have an offering, they come into the client with where the clients like, Look, okay, we're gonna do this marchetto thing, but like, for the first six months, it's all about ads, right? Like, we got to drive the traffic, whatever the heck it is. So maybe they drove the deal. Maybe Everyone seems kind of happy. But the reality is, is the marchetto benchmarks are junk, they're not actually healthy, is delivery, keeping an eye on that in like funneling that backup into the partner management dashboard to kind of keep the the marketing team, like, they don't have to deal with it. And the Partner Manager is responsible for only bringing quality to go to market.

Alex Wright  21:41
Yeah, I mean, you know, quite honestly, we don't have a, from a partner marketing perspective, from a delivery side, we don't have a lot of insight to that. And so that really is it's something we focus on on the marketing side, really, because especially specific for us, like, we're focused on driving net new opportunities in getting that into motion and getting that, you know, into motion with both the pm and the Nam. And so from a part of marketing perspective, the delivery aspect, although is extremely important, and don't want to discredit that at all isn't a focus, partner marketing side, but it is on the enablement side. So kind of like building some of those best practices. That's obviously part of marketing function, certifications, trainings on demand content.

Jared Fuller  22:24
Makes makes perfect sense. I'm curious. So I bet there's a lot of folks that are not at the phase of maturity, as Adobe that partner marketing is also thinking, you know, strategically from an acquisition standpoint, are you in your organization, more specifically focused on kind of curating the best of the best, given that it's a go to market focus? Or does the organization also have a, you know, a latent eye on partner acquisition?

Alex Wright  22:54
Yeah, just the prior, just focused on that first part around that new and driving new business, right, versus the acquisition side.

Jared Fuller  23:02
Okay, so everyone out there right now, today, what you just heard Alex say, is the snippet that you can forward to your CEO. to whoever wins the ecosystem, right has the spoils. You're all out there trying to figure out how we go and get everyone aligned to go get more partners on board. And like, whenever you have that ecosystem, you're like, No, we don't do anything for partner recruitment. They come to us we're like,

Justin Bartels  23:28
yeah, you get to play inbound qualification at that point.

Alex Wright  23:30
No, I mean, I think it's super important, right? Like, there's so many different aspects. And I think what we've we're fortunate enough around Adobe, is we have a fairly large partner team. And it actually allows us though, we are trying to be in lockstep with one another, is there a different teams that are focused on different parts of the partnership and ecosystem that allows us say, Hey, we're focused on, you know, go to market demand and activities with these partners, while other teams are focused in other parts of the ecosystem, which is a forte, you know, it's a good thing, right. But it's also a great way to learn and others when you're smaller, but from our side, you know, the team that I work with the team that Mike works with, as well as Tyler, really focused on Hey, here are the partners we are working with day in and day out how to develop this strategy to drive new business. And I think it's also important, I say, as every partner for business to Adobe, but equally drive business to the partner. Because we want to make sure that it's like we're not just taking from you every day, like we're working together. This is partnership, we want to make sure that you're creating the services for your organization as well. Curious,

Jared Fuller  24:34
Alex, do you do you interface with just kind of like LinkedIn on the side in terms of community or other partnerships professionals outside of the the walls of Adobe, you know, occasionally, or is this like, hey, I've been kind of focused on mastering this craft here at Adobe, like, I'm not really sure of much outside of the walls here and how partner programs might be structured, etc. I'm curious if that's a frequent or infrequent A conversation you might have with a fellow partner marketer.

Alex Wright  25:02
Yeah, I mean, if I'm being very honest, it's I've been really kind of is a tunnel vision as of right now, just with so many different initiatives happening, I think it's a great call out that even personally and professionally, as well as just for the betterment of partner marketing is reaching out to other partner marketers within different organizations understanding best practices and understanding how they do things. But if I'm being pretty transparent, which I always try to be is that that's really just focusing within the tunnels of Adobe right now. And it partially it's because of the different initiatives we have going on and the different directors we have right now. But yeah, pretty USB televisual, but

Jared Fuller  25:42
no, no, no. What's that? Justin?

Justin Bartels  25:45
This is probably why he's doing pretty good.

Jared Fuller  25:48
Yeah, that's, that's that's also why he was highly recommended. Coffee happy

Justin Bartels  25:52
hours, you

Jared Fuller  25:53
know, in that wasn't that wasn't a trap question or a trick question. The reason why I asked is, I feel like there's there is a need, so someone has it out there tweeted at us LinkedIn messages hit us up on the cloud software Association, Slack, I feel like there's a need for some sort of ecosystem, you know, maturity model that you could break down per department. So for example, in your phase of maturity, you know, the marketing organization's primary responsibility is demand generation, right, with partners, and in the beginning phases, like, if you're 100%, focused on demand generation, oh, that's gonna be tough. That's gonna be tough to to go and tell that story with any sort of convey, like, maybe you could do it at the beginning a little bit. But there was a, there was a great phase, we're going through your Alex, where where are you based? Do you West Coast? I'm in Denver, you're in Denver. Okay. So Mountain Time. Probably not too familiar to the folks in time.

Justin Bartels  26:55
That's up. Why did you say that? So weird. Mountain Time? Because that was

mountain time. Yeah, I don't know.

Jared Fuller  27:03
I grew up. I grew up on the border. I grew up on the border of Colorado and New Mexico. Yeah, I mean, I, that's, that's my old stomping grounds that we were going through right now, force management training, which is like this command of the message stuff, which is, it's like the people that build PTC, this guy right here. So if you're on YouTube, the qualified sales leader, john McMahon, legend, this guy's like, add? Well, he claimed over over 100 people that have worked for him that are now CRS, and in this kind of command to the message. Training and like, program that we're going through inside of drift right now, where we're realizing there's more and more that we have to do to get everyone I would say, focused on the core kind of value drivers have of their product of their solution. So everyone's going through this messaging training. How do you think about kind of controlling the messaging of of your partners, and they're going to market with all of these different kinds of stories, these different verticals? And you're in this phase of maturity, where I don't think the rest of the market is the reason why I asked this question. The rest of the market isn't thinking at that level. They're thinking I need my first. I don't know my first case study, right, my first joint customer when my first partner highlight, and you're thinking, Okay, how do I nail you know, retail, hospitality, medical manufacturing, your use cases for this geography in this company? sighs I feel like those motions are very particular and very different than kind of the more broad base partner marketing you might see in a startup. So it wasn't a it wasn't a trick question like, Hey, how are you going and asking everyone else, it's more that I feel like these are the things that need to get shared. Because some of those basic things that we can do really well as a smaller organization might be applicable or helpful. to, I don't know, maybe create more interesting ideas or thoughts and the same thing down to us to like, Justin, if you had an Adobe partner that wanted to partner up with you on demand generation for I don't know, medical manufacturing. It's like, Hey, we're gonna go do co marketing, medical manufacturing Adobe. You me? Where'd you start?

Justin Bartels  29:49
Yeah, I think, Well, I think Did you just a question to Alex and then pivot to me?

Jared Fuller  29:53
Oh, yeah. I'm going to turn it back over to Alex and turn back over to Alex. Okay. This is one of those episodes.

Justin Bartels  29:58
I got a lot of Alex at the beginning. rephrase the question, if I was going to start, know that

Jared Fuller  30:04
you had to summarize, I was making a point that I believe that's part of the reason that we're all together is we have to this is probably more of a clarion call to SUNY or in the cloud software Association. We don't know where we're at as an industry partner marketing. Yep. What what partner marketing book, have you read? like none, you're learning by doing and executing, which is fantastic. Yep. It's very difficult for other people to understand that maturity curve, right? Like that maturity model. And what competencies for example, you might have skipped ahead of like, eight. I don't know, I don't know who wrote this, the competency model for partner marketing. So Justin, like, if we were to put ourselves in Alex's shoes today, if you if Alex had a partner, that was like, hey, medical manufacturing, we want to go do you know, am stuff with you, Alex, you probably have a playbook on, you know, if your partner account manager said they were good, you would know what to do. Justin, we'd be like, deer in headlights? Right? Yeah. Yeah. Kind of I mean, for demand Gen

Justin Bartels  31:08
specifically, what's the question?

Jared Fuller  31:11
The question is, it's it's not something that it's a competency that people don't know they need to develop. Right? So for example, industry specific partner marketing, geo specific, size specific, like, the way that Adobe segments, its business is often even as shocked to people like you're so used to adjusting or like Alex, most people don't realize that Adobe segments is business on customer spend on geo, on vertical. There's all of these bad product on product line. Whoa, there's, there's a lot of complexity there. That I feel like we need to do a better job as a community of connecting and sharing. So this I guess, this is sort of my clarion call Justin, more so than it is a direct question to to Alex, I was just seeing if you if we could see the difference between where we're at and where someone else is at. And being able to recognize that, for example, if you don't have partners trying to do vertical specific messaging with you. Maybe that's not what you should be focused on?

Justin Bartels  32:16
Yeah, well, I think like our stage a partner marketing, and like Alex's stage are two examples of different parts of the spectrum where like, we're very much so in the, how do we use partners to amplify and solidify this new category. And this new way of doing, you know, businesses buy from businesses, right. And we've been focused on amplification for so long, and really, you know, building the brand and around our ecosystem. But now we're developing a need to partner with people who own different parts of the market that we want to grow into, that can take that platform message, and tweak it and twist it. So it resonates with a very specific account and buyer and set of technologies that we might need to integrate with an Alex is lives in that world daily. That's kind of what I'm hearing is like,

Jared Fuller  33:05
right? Yeah, if that it, maybe it's not the top of the maturity curve. Maybe there's like another level past, like Alex, that he's gonna develop with Adobe, where it's like, Hey, here's the next level of partner demand generation. I think it's just one of those frameworks. So it's a, if someone has a partner mature marketing maturity model that they've dreamt up, I would love to see it, I'd love to get it out there in front of people, because I think that's the biggest hiccup that people make is that they, they look to role models without understanding where they're at and the steps in between to tie that back to what you said, Alex, there's, there's steps in between, right? Like, if you just, if, if you were just listening to what I said, it's like, Hey, here's how you need to do this. And you kind of have to work backwards.

Alex Wright  33:48
I think it's also like, I mean, we mentioned this thing, the market to aspect, right, like partner marketing is not just imagine, yes, that's a huge component of where my focus and my time is. But there's a big proponent around market too, right? Like we are continually trying to educate our partners on the Adobe solution stack, right. And how we're going to market market to also includes How do you build messaging that comes from you to the market. And I think that's super important. I think, as I kind of further understood partner marketing for a while, it was like dimension activities, Phil's marketing, blah, blah, blah. And it quickly learned and Adobe actually taught me moving from Marketo to Adobe, after the acquisition was that like, this market to aspect is very large, right? Because partners can't deploy if they don't know how, right and so, you know, I have we have team members that may have a ton of focus just on the market to aspect because we need to make sure partners are updated on what we're saying, right. And so I mentioned this on our kind of pre call, but, you know, we're doing things like BDR lunch and learns, where partners are coming to the table. We're doing lunch with them, and they're teaching them about how to how to go to market with our messaging. Because BDR Adobe has marketed to us, we have developed new content, and now we're marketing back to you so we can work together. So there's just a ton of market two aspects, whether it's to the partner, or it's actually to internally to our sales team, and BDR is to say, Hey, this is the first step right around understanding and being comfortable with one another. We talked about the competency around that. And so I definitely want to discredit whether you're a large part your large company like Adobe or Salesforce, or you're a smaller company in building that ecosystem and a partner wanting to get in, it's like, Hey, there is an aspect of enablement and market to that this starts this whole motion. And until we get there, the demand Gen aspect, it'll never come. Because there we have, you know, both the partner needs to feel confident, just as much as in our case, Adobe feels confident to create a good market maps, messaging or strategy to put this in front of people in the public.

Jared Fuller  36:00
So that what I've noticed about Adobe, like the one thing I've learned and taken away from HubSpot, partner marketing, was like make your partners famous, in other words FOMO right. So they're HubSpot did a very good job of her rolling their best partners, you can go check it out. I think it's Episode Four with P Kabuto. So partner up episode four peekapoo. to shout out Pete Very different ends of the spectrum, very small, small agencies, small business like mom and pop shop, almost I mean, I dq myself out of being a HubSpot agency, like that's, that's how like, it's like, oh, I have 30 person agency, it was like, Oh, that's even smaller than that. But the over time, this was 2012, they've gotten thinking they got better and better. And one of the ways they did it was by really selling the value of the partnership and how your agency could be a better agency. What I've noticed with Adobe, is they're very, very customer centric in terms of every new story. So the way you even started this conversation, Alex was about what customers have they helped, right, like, what story? Can we tell? For what industry? What variable? There's some specialization there? What's the biggest kind of like arrow in your quiver? Is it utilizing partner stories and market to to get them to, you know, actually stand up and go do stuff? Or is it using customer stories that look most like their customers? Is it like other partner examples? It's like, Hey, here's how a partner like you built the better agency? Or better si or better practice? Or is it? Here's how customers in your vertical in your area of expertise, how they, you know, accomplish their goals? And then how you might as well, or you might help your customers do the same?

Alex Wright  37:48
Yeah, I mean, I think it is, we some from time to time can, you know, bring up partners that have done things successfully, and say, Hey, here's kind of the steps that this partner has done. And here's where they've gotten. And here's a great example of utilizing that customer story to, to get to that next level. And so there are it's, we have such great relationships with our partners, or at least I like to think we do. And so when we have those conversations as one to one type meetings, we like, bring up other partners and say, Hey, here's how here's a great example of how a partner is doing it. Right? Right. And it gives them to your kind of note a little bit of FOMO. But it also says I this is something I have had to strive for. Right. And I love giving examples to partners, whether they're newer, or even, even if they're veteran partners. And we give them examples all the time of like, Hey, here's, here's how it went well, and here's how we can be can kind of use that as an example. But then we also I mean, man, if I'm honest, I also give examples where like, hey, this probably wasn't the best kind of situation. Right? So let's, let's stay clear of that. Right? Whether it's, you know, new deployments are, it's part of marketing activity. We always like to learn whether it's good or bad, how the situation went, how's program went? And how do we how do we get better each day? Which sounds super cliche to say that, but it's kind of true. Yeah.

Jared Fuller  39:09
It's repetition. What was the enforced management Justin, the the confidence, competence leads to confidence, which leads to conviction. I didn't get right. So what's that?

Justin Bartels  39:22
I didn't get to take it yet. I'm on the beat team. I got it this week.

Jared Fuller  39:26
Same here, same here. No, it's just different. Um, yeah, I think that has a lot to do with it. It's it's inspiring the basic level of competence and understanding that their customers can do, you know, interest, they can monetize the opportunity that for their customers and solve their customers pain points. That other partners have done the same, that they're not the first to do that. I mean, the first mover advantage, it's it's interesting. You have a lot of money. Sure industries are actually that's a quick, quick tangent. Are there any industries right now? Or verticals or gios? That is like brand new partner development for you, Alex, like you picked up Magento. So maybe it's not right now, but it was like, oh, shoot, we've never done e commerce, we have to figure this out. Has there been anything that's come like net new into your picture? Since you've been at Adobe?

Alex Wright  40:23
Not as much net new is what we've seen a focus on recently, right, seeing a lot of focus on what is now Adobe commerce with the new branding, across like manufacturing, which has been a huge one, as of recently, we have a lot of partners really trying to hit that.

Jared Fuller  40:38
That's COVID related, I'm assuming? Yeah,

Alex Wright  40:40
I mean, can't you can't deny the fact that obviously COVID has changed everything in the way individuals are consuming, right. And so I've seen that a lot of recent direct to consumer, right is one again, that is have been heavily affected by everything going on. And so we've seen some partners really kind of double click into that, as a way for manufacturers to beat out the middleman and get straight to the consumer. I also think that one that's not a new one, but also something that's extremely relevant is health care, right? how we create patient experiences within healthcare is extremely important. You know, I use this as an example all the time, but when someone is in a hospital, right, and then they get, you know, whether it's themselves or a spouse or a family member in something tragic happens, right? Like, they don't want to get a message 24 hours later that says, hey, can you tell us about your experience that, you know, this health, you know, this hospital, right, and so a lot of partners have started to really focus in on customer experience, or sorry, patient experience within the healthcare system. So we've seen a lot of partners either pivot to health care, or they're really double clicking into it, even though they focus on MSI and high tech healthcare manufacturing, they're gonna say, hey, with our efforts amongst your team and our team, we're gonna focus on partner marketing and healthcare, because we know it's super relevant right now. And hopefully, we're not over pivoting because other people are. But we've seen a lot of healthcare conversations come as of recent and a lot of solutions that our partners are building around, you know, amplify solutions that work with our solutions. They're developing to help support that kind of healthcare motion.

Justin Bartels  42:20
Yeah, I love how like that starting with that conversation and the better together story and like, what's our unique thing here, that we're working on with a partnership is ultimately a positioning exercise for the agency and for the partnership itself. And from an alliance perspective, like I always kind of tell our cams, this is like, the best thing you can do for your partner is position them really well like get them to really hone in on an expertise, because if you think about their success at the end of the day, and what they want, which is probably referrals, reciprocal referrals, like they have to be memorable in the minds of your account managers and your sellers and your CSM. And if they're all coming to say, yeah, we're good at we're a good Adobe partner, we're a good draft partner. And you know, that's what we do. And we will do it for anybody. That's not as sticky as like, yeah, I'm really good at healthcare providers, and doing, you know, am implementations for them. If they're in Topeka, Kansas, like, okay, like, I know where to put you. And I know who to pair you with. And I know you're going to be the best person in Topeka, Kansas for a, you know, provider implementation, you want to get that specific, but I love how that better together story kind of is really just a positioning exercise of the day of like, how are we going to maintain your mental memorability mental memory in the mind of an account manager of the market of potential customer? And then you know how to uniquely speak to that customer at the end of the day and hopefully win the business?

Alex Wright  43:47
Yeah, I mean, I think one thing that, and some partners on like this, but I stick by these, when we create these stories and programs with partners for the demand aspect and the go to market is that I always ask, right, where are we focused? Well, we're focused on a and across all my Goodbye, this is over. Because what we want to say is, Hey, I'm focused on ATM. And we're going to, specifically we're focusing on these two industries, and actually one with a subset industry, right? That's a perfect story that I can go to the names and A's and vdrs and say, Hey, I got partner x, that's going to talk to you about a program that they built around a demand Gen program that has events, it has content, it has all these different things. And look, we're focused on these types of accounts. And if it doesn't pertain you by then that's okay, right? Because now we're focused just on this group. And then we go to the next partner and we're in that program takes off, right we're working that program and then we go to the next partner and this partner is like, great. I am focused on direct to consumer across ATM and Adobe commerce. Great. Let's figure that story out. Then we reach out to those teams and say, Hey, we have a we have a story around direct to consumer that focuses on e commerce, and they say, you know who raises their hand so those Raise your hand, great anyone else, you know, quote unquote, you can leave the room and goes, I mean, man, it just creates these perfect swimlanes of like, how we go to market. And yeah, I understand that partners, we have a ton of partners out there that have magenta or sorry, commerce marchetto ATM intellect and they have the whole, you know the whole bag. But I can't do that and are in our names and Aigis and be yars. Or they have their their focus on very specific areas. So if we go to them and say that, like, Man, I'm attacking us. But if we go to them and say, Hey, we have a marketing plan that is going to get you those up and get open those doors for you these specific opportunities, and we can take those and set those aside and work on those. And then we go back to that name and say, Hey, what did you have left? And then they say, Here's Okay, great, we have this partner that can help you do that. And I think the other thing, and I know we're low on time, but one thing I always encourage people, is it like you, we have to be in sync with the different teams. Right? So on our side on Adobe, we have segment leads, right that sit within marketing, but they are tied to their sales leaders. Right? So when I sit down with Caroline Hall, or I sit down verse alignment, I say, Hey, where are the gaps in the business? Right? Well, we have this, this and this and we need help here. I might, you know, Tyler, Mike, and I get together and say, okay, who can help this gap? Well, hey, I've got you know, Mike says, I've got Microsoft as this, and he can help with that gap based off, you know, this criteria, perfect and gap fill, hey, like, who can help with I'm just gonna make this up. You can help with healthcare in the growth segment focused on marchetto? Well, we have these partners that are probably our legacy marchetto partners that are quick have it and can get to work. And so we i would i always really emphasize our teams is like, Hey, you have to be in line with your segment leads, the sales leaders, the BDR leaders to say, Hey, where are the gaps? Where do you need help? Because quite frankly, our partners are producing more than you need, right? And so what can we pick from and so I always joke about this one day, it's probably going to be, you know, on a meme, or come back and bite me. But I always say that, like our partners are producing so much stuff. It's almost like a buffet in the sense of like, Hey, here's all the content that our partners are producing, and programs that they're producing, based off the needs of the business. And we need to market to you the insights, sellers and marketing team, say, hey, like, what can we use to fulfill those gaps? And so that comes out market to piece internally to say, Hey, this is all the great stuff that our partners are doing. Where can we get it? Can it be part of an internal dimension program can be part of a social campaign that Megan Ibarra, and her team is running. And so I think that's one thing this year that our team has done very well, is in lockstep with the different teams, whether it's marketing or sales to say, hey, like, Where are the gaps? Like, we have a ton of amazing stuff? What can we help support you with? Because we have partners across the spectrum that can can help you?

Justin Bartels  47:55
Yeah, I feel like we have to add that to the marketing partner marketing maturity framework, as far as like early stage, you go from building the ecosystem, building the partnerships, enabling them to the at the phase of adobea, you're still building the ecosystem, but you're much more ecosystem pruning and smoothing, right to make sure the resources are applied in the best way possible. across that partnership, you know, and really making the most of your internal teams time, your partner's time so that everyone's going to be successful. And, and there's not one a gap in delivery and what you're delivering in the market with your partners, but also, it's productive for everybody and no one's stepping on toes.

Alex Wright  48:33
Yeah, I mean, I mean, if I'm honest, like over my time at Maracana, then Adobe, it has been a huge learning curve for me to understand what partner marketing is what I thought partner marketing was, and what it truly is, it's a testament to, to leadership, whether it's an fioritto, or Tony Sanders on the sales side is developing what partner marketing looks like and how it's not just demand Gen. But it's it's show me different pieces. And it's, it's being sure that you're part of this whole kind of go to market cycle. To understand a part of marketing isn't just an engine, but it's also not just marketing to partners to pick up Adobe practices and under have teams that focus on certain solutions, but it's really a kind of a full circle of how we work together. And it's been really neat to see how we have part of Marketing Leads part of conversations that they probably were never part of, whether it's QB ours with a partner or TVs or it's just the partner opportunity playing our partner plan were marking was in a kind of maybe an afterthought after fact, thought now they're actually on those calls of saying, Hey, where does market partner marketing fit into the early stages of this conversation? And how do we help round about that conversation with demand and activity? So this this partnership continues to be fruitful for both the partner and Adobe? That's um,

Jared Fuller  49:53
it's it's so incredible to, to see it and then like, be be away from it. That fully in degraded kind of mindset, where everything from sales segment leads, right having specific marketing counterparts that are specifically eliciting content back from, you know, the partners that best fit the solution, all the way to kind of the program design that is specifically designed to capture everything from partner marketing. It's one of the things that I think all of us have to recognize that are in the partner seat that aren't that aren't the CMO that aren't the CRM, the CFO, the CEO, is, okay, if we're not there were my demand Gen team and my content team. And like all of these teams have a partner hat that they wear at least once a week. And this is how they interface with the partner team. You're not there yet. It takes the rest of the team to really maximize what Alex has been able to do, because I'm sure that marchetto to Adobe transition, showed you that very big difference, right, that delta between Oh, here's what fully integrated partner marketing looks like versus we do cool marketing with our partners, right? It's like, it's a completely different thing. Alex, that was awesome, my man. Before we go, I do want to give a quick shout out. So I've made a couple shout outs on the call today, but we got to do the formal one to the cloud software Association. So Alex, come join everyone else who's listening. Come join. It's just slack group. It's awesome. There's about 4000 it's gonna be 4500. Now partnerships professionals, and I'm sure sooner in the team would love to have you on for like a masterclass to kind of talk through. Know from a demand Gen partner marketing perspective, what that fully integrated, kind of some of the learnings that you've had kind of going from one to the other marchetto to Adobe, and I'm sure people would love to share with you and share with them. So come join up cloud software Association. Justin, Alex. It's been a pleasure. We're gonna have you we're gonna have you on again, and look forward to doing some partner marketing in the future. See y'all next time. Thanks, Alex. Thanks.

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