The Common Sense Marketer Podcast is back! 

Do you want better marketing results for your business? We have rebooted the Common Sense Marketer to help Microsoft partners and customers answer all the pressing questions they have today about building relationships with the digital-first buyer.  

Welcome to the show, Kayla Sanderson and Justin Gilbert

We are so excited to have two guests joining us this week on the podcast, Kayla Sanderson and Justin Gilbert.


As Channel Marketing Manager for Zix|AppRiver, Kayla works exclusively with MSP and VAR partners aligning their sales and marketing strategies and assisting them with bringing new solutions and offerings to market. Over the past 10 years, Kayla’s focus on marketing in the technology ecosystem has allowed her to fine tune partner messaging and tactics that support year over year growth. In her free time, Kayla is a rabid reader with a love for fiction and spends as much time as she can outdoors in her garden and with her family.


Justin is the Senior Director of Channel Marketing for Zix|AppRiver. As a seasoned marketing and sales veteran, Justin leads a team of passionate channel marketing experts who focus their efforts on enabling partners and their customers. Justin’s long history of  cultivating strategic relationships with partners has fostered healthy partner growth through training, marketing and service offerings. When he is not helping partners build successful businesses, Justin spends his free time bragging about having built his own home by hand, wood working, fishing, kayaking, and training for his upcoming century bike ride.



AppRiver began as an email security provider before transitioning into hosted exchange and later were invited into the Microsoft CSP program. AppRiver later partnered with Zix and the two companies have worked as Zix|AppRiver over the past several years to combine their software and tools into creating the Secure Cloud.


“The Secure Cloud is productivity, security, and compliance all wrapped into one.”


Supporting Partners

Over the past 18 months, the biggest hurdle for the Zix|AppRiver partners to overcome was the transition to the digital-first world. Kayla points to the fact that for many of their partners, key pieces of their lead generation was slowed or halted during the pandemic. In-person events, trade shows, and referral-based business all saw a lag in productivity the past 18 months, and the result for many partners was a feeling of restlessness and uncertainty. Hearing the concerns of their partners, the team at AppRiver jumped into action. 


“We took a step back and we took a look at Microsoft. We asked ‘what does Microsoft do that is really successful to help their partners and their CSPs?' We met with some of their Marketing Fund experts to see how we could better enable our partners.”


In learning from consultations with Microsoft experts the team at Zix|AppRiver started by creating a guide book of activities that partners could put in place that had proven to be successful in the space in order to give their partners a sense of direction during an otherwise tumultuous time.


The Partner Program

The team at Zix|AppRiver did not stop here, rather this was just the beginning. The next problem their partners were so frequently experiencing was ineffective lead generation as a result of a lacking digital marketing strategy. Chad points to a common sentiment that was being shared over the past 18 months:


“It’s easy to say that [...] once partners are back at events they won’t need to worry about their digital marketing strategy. But, I completely disagree. The partners we saw who were the most successful last year were the ones who already had that in place. So we think that going forward you are still going to see those partners who will need to have an online presence, they will need to have a digital marketing plan, they will need to have all of that in place.”


The mission for Zix|AppRiver then became centralized around helping their partners equip themselves for the new digital-first world in a way that will last, because digital marketing will not go away as social distancing restrictions are lifted.


“In addition to pre-built marketing campaigns that are either partially or fully funded from us, we decided to also look at how we help partners generate new business.”


With the Partner Program, and a new perspective on how to generate new leads for their partners, Zix|AppRiver is demonstrating the value of listening to your partners needs, especially in times of uncertainty.


Going Digital-First 

We see far too often the misconception of a magic silver bullet in digital marketing. The truth of the matter is that marketing is hard work that requires time, resources, and patience.

Kayla and Justin have demonstrated that jumping into the trenches and walking a mile in their partners' shoes is the way to go in order to create effective support for their partners.

To learn more about the digital-first world and equip yourself and your business with a better understanding of the market today, read our free ebook, The Secret to Engaging the Digital First Buyer.

Connect with Kayla and Justin on LinkedIn!



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