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More IT Channel Companies Taking Ownership of Branding and Marketing, New CompTIA Study Finds

Downers Grove, Ill., October 20, 2014 – Information technology (IT) channel companies are becoming more self-reliant when it comes to branding, marketing and sales activities, according to a new study released today by CompTIA, the IT industry association.


The move to take greater control comes at a time when channel firms are being pushed in new directions by technologies such as cloud computing; by customers demanding different delivery models for IT solutions; and by the emergence of a more varied lineup of competitors.


“Many channel firms have learned  that they can’t run their business today the way they once did, even in the recent past,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA.


CompTIA’s Fourth Annual State of the Channel study examines the size, shape and growth factors impacting the IT channel today. Some 350 IT companies were surveyed for the study.


Rebranding the Business

A majority of channel firms plan to up their marketing game, including individualizing their branding and fine-tuning their messaging to customers. More than four in 10 companies expect to accelerate social media activities to reach customers, drum up new business and promote themselves. Their goal: to position themselves as skillful, unique providers of technology services rather than simply product resellers.


“Most customers are not knocking on the door to ask what brand of product you’re selling,” April said. “They want to know what expertise you have and why you’re different than the guy down the street.”


Changes in Sales Structures

The shift away from product-based reselling to a company reliant on recurring services revenue is having a tremendous impact on sales operations. 


A net 47 percent of companies surveyed said the addition of new business models will increase the complexity of their sales and marketing structures. A net 74 percent added to their sales forces in the past 12 months, while nearly as many (72 percent) added marketing talent.


“Many channel firms have embraced a hybrid model, selling some products and some services,” April noted. “The structure of their sales teams may take on a similar look, with some reps excelling at product sales and others at service contracts.”


In fact, among companies that added new sales reps in the last year, two-thirds of firms hired from outside the IT industry.


More data from the study is available on SlideShare at


The Fourth Annual State of the Channel study is the latest addition to the CompTIA research library, which includes more than 100 studies, briefs, buyer’s guides, whitepapers and other market intelligence. These independent, vendor-neutral studies cover a range of topics, from technology adoption and business attitudes to market and channel trends and workforce issues. Many of these publications are available at no cost to CompTIA registered users.