In the “good old days,” companies like IBM built a ubiquitous brand with unique products and then dictated their terms and funds to sales channels. Brand advertising was typically delivered via one of the three major TV networks aimed at the mass market to create a “pull” that would have customers do whatever it took to get those products regardless of price, location or availability.
Product marketing teams would assemble sales and marketing material, and route it to partners via partner portals or directly to their offices, assuming that the partners had everything they needed to sell the company’s products or services. And that approach worked, especially with those partners who were former employees.
Business was good and predictable, but then things began to change. More channels became available and, as a result, it was harder to reach and influence key customers; the window of having a truly unique product shortened, and partners started gaining a greater choice of products to recommend, along with various incentive programs.
Gradually, the power of the transaction was shifting further down the value chain, leaving companies with less influence over the point of sale. Partners, now armed with options and leverage, became less willing to cooperate with the demands of the manufacturer.
In response, the manufacturers began exploring how to realign themselves as a key influencer and, along the way, they discovered the following revelations:
• Inconsistencies in communication about marketing programs, incentives, service and who owned the customer left partners confused and frustrated.
• Partners felt like they were getting little to no marketing support from manufacturers despite having piles of marketing material and funds.
• A concerning trend was starting to develop in which partners were using fewer of the marketing development funds available to them.
The old “push” product and programs through partners and “pull” customers to a company’s products through mass marketing was no longer working. It was time to rethink the model.
The webcast is scheduled for June 16 at noon Eastern time and will include a discussion of the new channel marketing model that is evolving in the technology industry. I will co-host the webcast with Bob Ray, president of San Francisco marketing office, gyro. High-technology clients managed out of the San Francisco office include VMware, Sybase, Adobe and others.
Senior Vice President
Practice Leader – Channel Marketing
*This was originally posted on Scott Gillum’s blog, http://b2bknowledgesharing.blogspot.com/