Focus Makes ‘Channel Focus’ A Great Event

A common question 2112 clients ask us is: “Who’s doing channel events well?”

By Larry Walsh

Nothing gets the thoughtful attention of a channel executive faster than peer experience and insights. Channel chiefs, channel operations directors, channel marketing managers and channel account managers all want to know what their colleagues have done, what’s worked and what they can learn from past mistakes.

While we can read case studies and media reports on vendor channel programs, nothing beats live interaction. That’s why events hold real value. Channel pros will often compare notes at the innumerable industry events, such as the forthcoming Channelnomics Channel Conference USA, but there are precious few events dedicated exclusively to the development of channel executives.

Some noteworthy events and organizations include CompTIA’s vendor community, in which channel leaders collaborate with the industry’s largest trade association on programs; the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), which draws alliance managers and executives together from across multiple verticals; and the Telecom Channel Association (TCA), a forum of telecommunications leaders.

Aside from association communities and events, one that stands out is Channel Focus, a conference produced by Baptie & Co., unique. For the better part of the last two decades, Channel Focus has been the gathering place for channel executives, experts, and thought-leaders. Channel Focus does a tremendous job of bringing together the right mix of people and presenters for thoughtful conversations and collaboration.

Sadly, there are some who are trying to co-opt the well-worn and proven Channel Focus model established by Baptie & Co., without the same success. Yes, they’re getting vendors to sponsor and people to attend their events, but the level of content and conversation pale in comparison to the original. Moreover, some events are ill-equipped to handle the planning and execution of a professional industry event. Even common things as a lack of attention to communications and customer service are the tell-tail signs of an immature and low-value program.

It’s not to say the industry couldn’t use more channel professional events, but the bar needs to be raised on quality. Channel Focus, the association events, and some of the niche professional collaborations do a tremendous job of linking channel professionals together. But events that replicate the agenda and blueprint for another event doesn’t make its organizers visionary – it just makes them copycats. And while that tactic may earn them temporary community support, the payoff is typically short-lived as the question of ROI is raised with regard to the investment of time and money around sponsorship.

Bolstering its position as a market leader, Baptie & Co. crafted a charter for Channel Focus; a 10-point constitution that guides the events’ development, defines the value proposition and establishes expectations for all participants. To maintain that standard, they clearly post their 10-point charter to avoid any confusion of their mission.

  1. To create an environment which both tackles and provides answers to, the most important Channel issues of the day
  2. To work with over 20 of the industries Channel leaders, to develop an agenda, that covers the most important issues that affect Channel professionals today
  3. To recruit speakers, who are experts on these issues and to work with those speakers to develop informative and actionable presentations
  4. To provide interactive workshop environments, led by industry leaders, where delegates can find real answers to the issues that matter the most to them
  5. To look after and treat every event attendee as though they were guests in our own homes
  6. To create an event that is exceptionally well run and managed
  7. To create a trusted environment under Chatham House Rules where both speakers and delegates can freely share their knowledge and opinions
  8. To create social events which combine a very fun environment with an ambience that encourages and enables our guests to meet and network with one another
  9. To create a forum where groups like the women’s leadership council can discuss key issues affecting the industry
  10. To constantly listen to our guests so we can continually strive to improve the Channel Focus event

Baptie is smart for drafting this charter, as it does put a fine point on the differences between the established and experienced Channel Focus program and the wannabes that come and go. In the opinion of 2112, Channel Focus is worthy of a channel professional’s time.

The 2112 Group is attending Channel Focus, April 19-21, 2016 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood, California. We’re looking forward to many great conversations with our partners, industry peers and channel executives.


Larry Walsh, The 2112 GroupLarry Walsh is the founder, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group. Follow him on social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.