HP looks to marketing as channel differentiator

Lynn Anderson, senior vice president of channel marketing and demand generation at HP

Lynn Anderson, senior vice president of channel marketing and demand generation at HP

LAS VEGAS – With former HP Canada marketing and alliance executive Lynn Anderson settling into a new role heading up both global channel marketing and lead generation for all aspects of the company, HP is looking to ramp up its through-partner marketing efforts.

“Our goal is to make marketing a competitive differentiator for HP,” Anderson said in a press briefing ahead of the company’s Global Partner Conference at the MGM Grand here this week. “That will let us differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”

The company will take a number of marketing programs that have been available in limited theatres worldwide to the global scale, supporting partners on both self-serve marketing efforts and higher touch marketing by connecting partners with marketing service agencies.

The first program, dubbed HP Co-Marketing Zone, is an extension of the typical co-marketing portal, allowing partners access to a variety of HP-approved marketing collateral from Web banners to telemarketing scripts, that can be quickly customized with partner logos and offers and sent out to customers. The company will also open its HP Asset Hub, a collection of images, animations and other components that range from product shots to “lifestyle images” that the company uses internally, to its Platinum partners free of charge, Anderson said.

The second program is a much bigger change, particularly for the company’s large number of smaller solution providers that may not have full-time marketing resources on staff. Under the program, HP will contract with a number of major marketing services agencies, and make their services available to HP partners in a “group buy”. The program will help smaller partners get access to more marketing capacity, and also streamline the MDF process for them. Rather than running a marketing program with the third-party marketing agency and then billing HP for the appropriate MDF, partners using HP-approved marketing companies will skip the need to pay the marketing agency directly, as the marketing company will directly bill HP for MDF-funded programs.

“For the partners, it means they don’t have to front their own money, but it’s also a big benefit for us, because instead of $10,000 here, $2,000 here, $5,000 there, we’re having a few big marketing service agencies billing us on the fly,” Anderson said. “It drives efficiency for us, and streamlines things for the partners.”

Using HP’s procurement power should also mean partners will be able to get more bang for their MDF buck, as marketing partners will sign on to more friendly terms to work with a variety of partners through HP than they would be able to get working directly with a third-party marketing agency.

The new marketing efforts also emphasize a “one HP” message, which was front and center to partners at last year’s GPC, and continue this year. Page Murray, vice president of worldwide channel marketing, said that programs like the marketing agency one wouldn’t be possible under the previous system, where each major division of HP (printing and personal systems, enterprise, and software) each ran its own channel marketing.

The renewed and HP-wide marketing approach is reflected in many ways here at GPC. The company boasts more of its top partners in attendance this year than ever before, and higher level executive within those top partners in the house. The effort was spearheaded by having top executives including CEO Meg Whitman and PPS chief Dion Weisler personally call and invite top partners to the event. The marketing approach shows in the agenda as well – in addition to the usual technology-focused and trend-focused breakouts, HP has engaged top consultants including Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, and PwC to present to partners on business issues including how to build an organization for growth, and compensation model changes necessary for cloud-focused partners.

“These are designed to tackle the tough questions you have to ask yourself as you invest in growth,” Anderson said.