Tech Data aligns marketing with product sales

Tech Data Canada has changed the way it markets its vendor partners to resellers.

In the past the distributor, which currently has more than 100 vendor partners, tried to promote key vendors through reseller engagements. Today, Greg Myers, vice-president of marketing for Tech Data Canada, based

in Mississauga, Ont., said vendor-marketing programs will be aligned with growth areas.

“”The opportunity before us as marketers is in growth areas such as MFPs, flat-panel displays, security software. Each category there has great organic demand and the unit increases in some areas is more than 50 per cent,”” he said.

With that, Tech Data Canada announced three major annual vendor programs. They are:

— The 2005 TechSelect program, which expands its end-user Technology Showcase from five cities to seven. This program helps market resellers as experts in the local market. It also boosts lead generation overall targeting more than 30,000 small to mid-sized businesses in Canada.

— The partnership bundles program, named after four great Canadians (Terry Fox, Nellie McClung, Sir Frederick Banting and Lester B. Pearson), provide vendors with a collection of marketing activities at discounted prices such as the National Sales Summit, sales training and Web advertising.

— The core vehicles and activities program will enable vendors to choose from a menu of marketing activities within three areas: reseller communication, reseller engagement and appreciation, and sales engagement and education. This format allows vendors to develop an entire program with individual elements or add-on select marketing activities to an existing partnership bundle or annual program.

Relationship building programs such as the Tech Data Reseller Adventure and the Get Connected programs are still important, Myers said, but added that distribution has to drive sales growth, especially in SMB, which is a priority for the company’s vendor partners.

One areas that Myers wants to build upon is the End User TechSelect Showcases. He said these showcases are unique to the Canadian market for the TechSelect members.

Last week Tech Data Canada produced a Solutions Showcase for Orbex, a Cambridge, Ont.-based reseller hosting more than 100 customers in that market.

“”These showcases go into local markets and host one-day events comprised of seminar tracks and a solution fair. It positioned the reseller with industry leaders such as IBM, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard,”” Myers said.

Tech Data Canada put on five showcases in 2004 hosting more than 400 customers across the country. Myers said for 2005 the company wants to increase the showcase events to seven and possibly ten.

“”We are in the end-user marketing business and we do not sell to end users, but we can connect those resellers, and end users with key vendors. We are the producers and we bring the circus to town,”” Myers said.

The marketing budget for Tech Data has not changed from last year. According to Myers, last year’s marketing dollars were down 20 per cent from 2003. “”The vendor investment in channel programs through distribution was 20 per cent less, but it has changed and we have adopted to this new reality,”” he said.

Tech Data is also revamping its Web site Scheduled to launch in early 2005, this site will feature new tools for pricing, category searches, vendor searches, resource centres and better procurement tools. “” will focus more on product categories and e-commerce. We have improved the tools for e-commerce.””

Vendors can choose to invest in one or more of the annual program options to establish their marketing base for the year. Vendors who participate in TechSelect attend two North American Partner Conferences a year and have access to various marketing tools such as end-user marketing elements. Other annual programs include Consumables, Internetworking, Mobility & Wireless, Peripherals, Security, Storage, Plus Software!, System Builder and VAR Partner.

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