Hewlett-Packard represents more than US$500 million worth of business to Avnet Hallmark. But, that will not be enough. The distributor wants to expand its HP business in Canada and has devised a new program to do it.

Called the Vertical Marketing Program, it attempts to connect solution providers

with key vertical markets such as healthcare, finance and manufacturing.

“”This program is focused on marketing initiatives for partners,”” said Mike Gavarkovs, vice-president and general manager for Avnet Hallmark Canada.

Gavarkovs, who heads up Avnet’s Canadian operation in Toronto, added the program has four areas: awareness, lead generation, education, and opportunity mapping where the best partner and their skills are matched up with the vertical opportunity.

The lead generation portion of the plan will have direct mail and telemarketing campaigns to promote the reseller’s expertise.

Gavarkovs acknowledged that previous lead generation programs in the channel had certain challenges and may not have been effective to all resellers because they were not managed properly.

“”The first thing is this is a marketing campaign for awareness. We need to maximize returns in our programs with the awareness, the opportunity mapping and development in the campaign to allow the partner to understand the opportunity,”” Gavarkovs said.

The new program began with an awareness campaign conducted on behalf of HP, which is Avnet’s No. 2 over vendor, targeting over 180,000 end users within the healthcare, finance and manufacturing verticals.

Gavarkovs said the healthcare vertical is definitely the most lucrative in Canada. Another vertical market that is currently not part of the program, but is on Avent’s radar screen, is retail, he said.

Avnet also announced a new service named IT Demo Central that will enable resellers to demonstrate storage solutions performance in real-time for customers through a secure portal anywhere and at anytime.

IT Demo Central can also be configured by the partner to replicate the customer environment.

“”It was important and relevant to define the best and most cost effective route to market and this provides resellers with a library of IT assets through a portal,”” Gavarkovs said.

IT Demo Central will not be specific to HP and will include Oracle Collaboration Suite, Lotus Sametime and WebX.

Avnet also confirmed it will expand its Networked Storage Advisor service to offer regionally-deployed storage assessments conducted by Avnet technical consultants on behalf of the resellers.

Gavarkovs said storage assessments will be another market opportunity for Avnet’s partner base of 50 resellers. “”This allows partners to provide regional storage assessment and we were somewhat limited there and decided to bring this forward as a tool to the partners to be more involved in determining storage solutions,”” he said.

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