Channel Partners Breakout Session – Signs of the Times

First, let me state that if you were NOT at the Channel Partners 2016 Event in Las Vegas, NV, you missed out.  The show floor brought vendors from Service Providers to hardware manufacturers, QOS service appliances, and Entrepreneurs in the cloud service space.  There seemed to be so much networking going on, that the ScanSource sponsored VIP booths were at capacity all day, every day.  While the actual EXPO floor was exciting, I wanted to share a brief overview on one of the keynote sessions that I feel is super important to businesses both small and large.
The keynote speaker was Janet Schijns, who is the Vice President & Chief Marketing Technologist for Verizon Enterprise Services.  The idea behind this keynote was to have a millennial panel (those born between 1980 and 2000) to discuss the practices of today’s business.  The panel consisted of consultants, a marketing director, an intern, and a videographer.  They were interviewed with questions like, “Where would you place your resume?” The response being LinkedIn for most of the panel with an occasional site like Angellist (  Being a millennial myself (I turn 30 in a few days), this wasn’t a surprise.  What was a surprise was the chatter from the almost 500 people in attendance.  It seems that most people expected word of mouth, references, or Monster for resume submission, not the current LinkedIn.
Another question that was addressed was social media, surprise!  These panelists were very outspoken about this next subject. One kicker that broke the ice is when a panelist was asked to demonstrate the proper way to take a selfie.  While this seemed to get the crowd smiling and laughing, it was very educational.  The angles and lighting that people go through to make sure that the headshot is framed and well-lit was exhausting.  When the question of, “How do you feel when a company responds via social media to your issues?” was asked, they all started to speak at one time.  The common thread was that they all felt very bad when the company did not respond in that media.  The millennials stated that you should be using ALL digital mediums to interact with your customer base.  The phrase, “If you’re aren’t responding, you’re losing” came out of a member’s mouth.  Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter should be the standard for companies looking to engage with a digital age customer base.

I found this breakout to be eye opening.  As someone who is trending towards the earlier side of the millennial generation, it was still interesting to hear how people want to be engaged.  This goes for troubleshooting (Apple formed a Twitter tech support recently), purchasing, returns, and product knowledge in any industry.  This group of people is more engaged and connected than any generation before.  If you don’t agree with this observation, go into any restaurant or gathering place and pay attention to the faces buried within their smart devices.  Bottom line, if you want to stay on top of your prospects, potentials, or current customers – you need to be connected in as many places as possible to meet their needs.

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