Channel marketing

As the ME market becomes increasingly competitive, partner marketing resources take on an ever more important role.

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By  Administrator Published  May 21, 2007

They are: Tolga Altinordu (addressing the OEM division), OEM director at Microsoft Gulf (TA); Ibrahim Alaeddine, partners business manager, IPG focus Gulf at HP Middle East (IA); Samer Malak, channel manager at McAfee Middle East (SM); Deena Habib, marketing manager at Sun Microsystems (DH); Katie Spurgeon, channel and alliances manager at Symantec MENA (KS) and Ned Jaroudi, VP partner marketing EMEA at CA (NJ).

Marketing is a very important selling tool, just like rebates and technical assistance. It underlines our partner commitment and assists the partner to adequately portray value-add to the customer and display their product portfolio.

Talk us through the importance of giving partners the marketing tools and resources they need to prosper.

DH: We have a go-to-market budget within Sun that is allocated to our partners. We sit with our distribution partners on a quarterly basis and discuss what Sun's direction is and what message we are giving to the market. Then we go through a set of deliverables for the campaigns that we run. At the moment there are 57 campaigns that Sun is rolling out worldwide, but for MENA it wouldn't make sense to roll out all 57 campaigns - maybe three or four at any given time - so we advise partners on this. We're saying, ‘instead of going and doing your own thing, give us your expertise and knowledge and add value to what we've already got and let's localise these campaigns.' Then we're all on the same page delivering the same message.

KS: Marketing is one of the most important collaboration points between Symantec and partners. The tools and resources of marketing take advantage of those strengths to extend markets and raise awareness and knowledge levels.

NJ: The pillar of our growth strategy is in alternate routes to market, as well as organic growth, acquisitions and international expansion. So we thought what better way to kill two birds with one stone than to pilot a new channel approach in an emerging market and achieve international expansion, as well as establish alternative routes to market. So for us, giving marketing tools to channel partners is very important.

SM: Marketing is crucial for our partner operations. Marketing is a very important selling tool, just like rebates, incentives and technical assistance. It underlines our commitment towards the partner, helps deliver the message and assists the partner to adequately portray value-add to the customer and display their product portfolio more effectively.

TA: It is extremely important, especially for the OEM division in Microsoft. This division is really a partner division and all our business is done through partners. We enable them to grow their business and reach new customers, and we get them ready and competent with new technologies. We work with our multinational accounts, named accounts, distributors and mobile partners to and through their channels. So channel marketing, for us, is a very broad topic and also a very important one.

What kind of marketing tools do you offer your partners?

NJ: The tools that we've been able to develop in the Middle East are now being rolled out worldwide, not just in EMEA. One of the tools is called the Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) Campus. This is an integrated suite of assets that a channel partner would have access to, just like our internal sales force. In the past, channel partners had been considered as completely separate entities so would not necessarily have access to all the tools, but we want them to feel part of the CA family. It's as if they were going to college - they graduate and become a bonafide CA partner. From a demand generation perspective, we've created the ‘channel marketing centre', which is a set of deliverables that allow partners to extend the CA brand with their own activities. So if they want to advertise on behalf of CA, such as run seminars, roadshows and e-mail campaigns, we've defined templates for these elements with specific brand guidelines, which the partners will then take and use in their marketing to customers.

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