Focus on marketing

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


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Despite signs of a weakening economy, solution providers in a recent poll by Ziff Davis Enterprise said they feel good about their profitability prospects for this ye

Focus on marketing

Bova said identifying and selling to new customers should be a result of a change in behavior for VARs. "To get new customers, solution providers have to start marketing," she said. "They will have to raise awareness of their brands and invest in marketing personnel."

Even solution providers that employ someone part time have to handle the marketing coming in and out from vendors and distributors. "Strategy drives structure," Bova said. "Aspiring to get new customers is the right thing to aim for, but VARs will have to change their internal structures to do this to handle their messaging."

But, according to the survey, only half of solution providers today rate their companies' marketing initiatives as very important to their 2008 business prospects. Vendor-sponsored programs are considered very important by only three in 10, so clearly channel marketers are not relying on those programs alone. As the channel seeks new customers through a new service-oriented approach, marketing is not a major component in this effort.

Whether they call it "marketing" or something else, though, solution providers are emphasizing numerous homegrown initiatives in 2008 instead of relying on vendors. Sixty-two percent cite their Web sites as a primary vehicle; 55 percent, customer-demand generation; 52 percent, e-mail; and 50 percent, lead generation.

Krakora said while it's important for vendors to drive marketing and leads, it is also vital for them to help solution providers drive their own. "Reseller marketing is currently lacking in capability," she said. But she added that vendors are starting to provide more than just marketing tools. Cisco Systems, for example, is offering actual resources to help execute marketing campaigns.


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