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How can you get the most bang for your marketing dollar?  If you are a Hewlett-Packard partner you may get your big chance to maximize your marketing investment this month.

The company is bringing back phase 4 of its Co-Marketing program. The program calls for HP partners to contribute money, to which HP adds 15 to 20 times that amount, depending on media market, to create a fund for co-marketing efforts in the partner’s area. 

Marketing efforts include print advertising in daily newspapers and local business journals, radio spots, events and other opportunities in the VARs local area.

Pacific Northwest HP partner Denali Advanced Integration has re-enrolled every time the program has been offered.

“We are in print,” says John Convery, executive vice president of marketing and vendor relations for Denali. “We are in the Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal. We have access to the business journal on a national basis to their lists and target listings. Then we’ve been all over the radio, on six of the top talk radio stations in Seattle/Tacoma markets. When we are out with prospects and customers, they say they’ve heard about us on the radio.”

The HP program began as a pilot in late 2006 with 10 partners in 20 cities. “We wanted to create demand for HP products and services in the SMB space,” says Lisa Baker, director of commercial marketing for HP.  “Partners are our primary way for selling solutions in that space, so we took a program for end user marketing and rolled in the partners.”

And the program has been tremendously popular so far. It is currently in phase three and now runs with 50 partners in 50 cities. Because it is a first-come, first-served program, and it has a limited number of slots, partners who are interested need to apply as soon as registration opens.

“In our last phase it created a lot of buzz in the partner community. People were waiting for that first minute the enrollment opened,” Baker says. Of the partners who register each time, about 60 percent have participated previously, Baker says.

This time around registration will open on May 30.  And this time partners will be able to apply to the program via the web, an improvement over the previous email registration, according to Baker.

This time around HP will also include search engine optimization and pay per click advertising in the overall marketing plan.

“The benefit to partners is they are getting level of marketing in their local market that they could never afford on their own,” says Baker.  “It gives a company like HP a local presence — putting a face to the HP business. And it puts a face to that local partner in a way that resonates with customers. The whole aspect of doing business with someone locally really helps.”