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How tech vendors leverage influencers to reach millennial buyers and fuel ecosystems

How tech vendors leverage influencers to reach millennial buyers and fuel ecosystems

Learn how modern ecosystem influence and attribution tools are enabling vendors to tap into the power of influencers to connect with millennial buyers and cultivate robust ecosystems. Understand why partner influencer programs are important and who the key players are in the Ecosystem Influence and Attribution tools market.


By the end of 2024, millennial buyers (born after 1981) will drive most IT purchasing decisions. These digital-first and, in most cases, digital-only buyers spend significant time becoming experts before making a purchase. A recent online survey showed 75% of this demographic would prefer not to talk to a human during the buying cycle. However, they are inundated with, and skeptical of, traditional marketing tactics.

Instead, buyers seek authentic content from trusted experts to guide their decisions. As a result, IT vendors are investing in ecosystem influencer strategies to reach target buyers.

Ecosystem influencers are the advisors, consultants, industry experts, partners, and super-connectors within a vendor’s ecosystem. Leveraging influencers, vendors can empower buyers with access to expert content across the 28 touchpoints on the new path to purchase.

The Rise of Partner Influencer Programs

A partner influencer program can significantly enhance a company's marketing and partner efforts by leveraging the credibility, reach, and influence of industry leaders to build trust, target the right audience, and ultimately drive business growth.

Programs such as Salesforce Trailblazer and influencer initiatives including HubSpot’s Affiliate Program provide a platform for influencers to create and distribute content that leverages their expertise. This creates a more organic sales channel driven by practitioners – not marketers.

Similarly, programs including Cisco Champions and Zoom Affiliate Partners create a foundation of partners in the market that surround buyers with valuable content including blogs, video tutorials, LinkedIn posts, industry trends, and reviews. This not only improves decision-making and drives validation, but also creates a powerful network effect that fuels a healthy and collaborative partner ecosystem.

Here are 10 ways influencer programs drive market demand:

  1. Trust and Credibility: Influencers in the B2B space are often industry experts or thought-leaders whose opinions are highly respected. When these influencers endorse a product or service, it lends credibility and trust to the brand, which is crucial in larger transactions where purchasing decisions often involve significant investment and risk.
  2. Expanded Reach: Partner influencers have established audiences that follow them for their expertise and insights. Partnering with these influencers allows businesses to tap into new and relevant audiences they might not have reached through traditional marketing channels.
  3. Targeted Reach: Partner influencers often have a niche following within a specific industry or sector. This allows businesses to target their partner and marketing efforts more precisely, ensuring their messages reach the most relevant decision-makers and stakeholders.
  4. Content Creation and Amplification: Influencers can create high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their audience. This content can take various forms, including blog posts, social media updates, webinars, and videos, which can be amplified through the influencer's channels and the brand's own platforms.
  5. Thought Leadership and Authority: Collaborating with respected influencers can help a business establish or enhance its own thought-leadership within the industry. This can position the company as a leading voice and a go-to resource for industry insights and solutions.
  6. SEO and Online Presence: Influencer-generated content often includes backlinks to the brand’s website, which can improve search engine rankings and drive organic traffic. Additionally, the increased online mentions and engagements can boost the brand’s overall digital presence.
  7. Relationships and Partnerships: Engaging with influencers can lead to long-term relationships and partnerships, opening doors to new business opportunities, collaborations, and networks within the industry.
  8. Lead Generation and Sales: Influencer endorsements influence the buying decisions of their followers, driving lead generation and ultimately increasing sales. Influencers help educate and validate purchase decisions for buyers through the 28 steps of the new decision-making process and buyer’s journey.
  9. Staying Competitive: Competitors are likely leveraging influencer marketing as part of their "surround" strategy. To stay competitive and relevant in the market, it’s essential to engage with influencers who can advocate for and differentiate your brand and reach millennial buyers.
  10. Thriving Ecosystem: Partner influencers are foundational for a healthy ecosystem; their activities fuel global communities of partners contributing, sharing, and amplifying valuable content, ultimately benefiting all involved and building product momentum.

However, monitoring, measuring, automating, and managing these programs cannot be done on a spreadsheet. The ability to build a reliable, repeatable, and scalable influencer program requires investment in technology.

Ecosystem Influence and Attribution (EIA) solutions empower companies to gain insights and recruit the influencers in their ecosystem, measure the impact of influencer activity, and optimize B2B influencer marketing strategies. By leveraging sophisticated and automated tools, companies can recruit and empower a large network of influencers, automate program management, and demonstrate the ROI of influencer engagement to executives – unlocking a previously underserved and powerful sales channel.

For example, HubSpot saw a 50% increase in affiliate revenue after automating its program by implementing EIA software.

Ecosystem Influence and Attribution Tools: Market Overview

According to Canalys research, the broader ecosystem software industry is valued at US$5.3 billion, and projected to double by 2028 (US$11.8 billion). Within this space, the dedicated market for Ecosystem Influencer and Attribution (EIA) tools was valued at US$231 million in 2023, and growing and evolving quickly.

Many of the tools in the EIA category have either evolved beyond traditional B2C influencer marketing platforms or are expanded comprehensive ecosystem management and PRM platforms that offer more influencer tooling and networks.

Most EIA platforms serve three main purposes:

  1. Identify and recruit influencers: Leverage data and analytics to pinpoint and recruit influencers who hold sway with your target audience.
  2. Automate management: Automate and scale the management of influencers to drive program success.
  3. Track engagement and measure influence: Monitor interactions across various channels to understand influencer engagement and quantify the impact of influencer activity on key performance indicators such as leads and revenue.

Key Ecosystem Influence and Attribution Players:

  • Awin (Germany): Awin provides a global affiliate marketing platform.
  • Circlewise (Norway): Circlewise provides a platform, called Partnership Hub, to grow in-house affiliate programs, as well as partnership marketing services.
  • Everflow (California, US): Everflow provides a partner marketing and attribution platform to help drive and track affiliate and influencer performance.
  • (California, US): is a partnership management platform that enables businesses to discover and recruit, manage, track, and optimize all types of partnerships, from affiliates, influencers, creators, B2B partners, and more.
  • Impartner (Utah, US): Impartner PRM offers a comprehensive Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution and Partner Marketing Automation (PMA) solution, enabling companies to manage all partners, resellers, distributors, ISVs, affiliates, referral partners, and influencers in one unified platform.
  • Ingenious Technologies (Germany): Ingenious Technologies is a partner marketing platform that helps vendors manage, track, analyze, and optimize partner marketing performance.
  • Partnerize (New York, US): Partnerize providers partnership software and services for discovering, activating, tracking, managing, measuring, and paying influencer marketers.
  • PartnerStack (Toronto, CA): PartnerStack offers a partnership platform to help companies recruit, activate, track, reward, and scale partnerships with affiliate and influencer partners, referral partners, and reseller partners.
  • Tune (Washington, US): Tune is a flexible platform that powers, measures, pays, and grows partner marketing programs and affiliate networks.
  • Union Resolute (New York, USA): Union Resolute’s platform utilizes AI and intent data to help companies identify leads.

The Future of Influence and Attribution Tools

Looking ahead, these tools will be infused with even more powerful AI functionality to drive more sophisticated insights and multi-touch attribution models. As vendors continue to expand their partner strategies and the market continues to grow, there will be seamless integrations and market consolidation with marketing automation and ecosystem management platforms.


A differentiated partner influencer program can significantly enhance a company's marketing efforts by leveraging the trust, coverage, and influence of industry leaders to build credibility, hyper-target the right buyers, and ultimately drive business expansion.

For tech companies serious about competing for market share, building ecosystems, and trust with the end customer, ecosystem influence and attribution tools are a game-changer. The message for partner, channel, and marketing leaders is clear, it's time to take ecosystem influencers more seriously.

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