HP moving partner marketing to planned MDF model

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

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

LAS VEGAS – For its fiscal 2016 beginning November 1, 2015, Hewlett-Packard (or rather, both HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which will come into existence from that date) will move its worldwide partner marketing development funds for partners from primarily revenue-based to primarily opportunity-based.

The global change for the two HPs will echo, but not directly re-create, the model the company has built in EMEA over the last two years. Rather, the global framework will result in some changes in EMEA as well. But the biggest changes will be felt in HP’s Americas and Asia Pacific/Japan theatres.

“We’re moving from planning a fund to funding a plan,” said Lynn Anderson, senior vice president of demand generation and channel marketing at HP, during a press briefing ahead of the company’s Global Partner Conference here. “It allows us to make strategic bets to drive demand.”

Under previous, primarily volume-based, MDF program, Anderson said marketing dollars were disproportionately available to HPs’ largest partners. Under the new program, activities that draw the best return on investment for both HP and partners will be funded regardless of the size of the partner looking at running a campaign.

“It will be about driving ROI, and it will be great news for partners who are growing, and great news for partners that have great campaigns,” Anderson said.

The move is not a surprise for partners – the company actually signaled that it will shift its model for FY16 prior to the beginning of FY15 last October. In the meantime, the company has invested in measurement tools and dashboards that allow it to track ROI of partner campaigns as closely as it tracks the ROI of its own marketing activities. What works, gets funded. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

Anderson said results of the shift in EMEA over the last few years have been positive, part of the reason that HP is going global with the approach.

“The amount of money being spent on demand is higher, the alignment between strategic objectives of HP and partners is higher, and the ROI is higher,” she said of the EMEA program.

Under the new MDF structure, HP will work with partners on half-year plans for marketing activities, and will execute those activities on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

The change comes after a busy year of changes in HP’s channel marketing efforts. At last year’s GPC, Anderson outlined plans to make channel marketing a competitive differentiator for HP. As a result of that push, the company has launched a program that pushed come 2,220 HP-developed leads out to partners across 11 countries, with the program moving to 30 countries by the end of year. It also introduced a Co-Marketing Zone to consolidate HP marketing assets for partners, and introduced a program whereby it provided partners access to third-party marketing services agencies at an HP-negotiated discount and with the opportunity to pay for campaigns through MDF.

The plans is for the new MDF structure to be the same for both HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, although it will be run separately by the two organizations post-split. Anderson herself will oversee the plan her team developed on the HPE side, while a new channel marketing head for HP Inc. will lead the charge on the former PPS business group.

Based on the company’s experience in EMEA, Anderson said she’s bullish that the new focus will result in additional investment in MDF across the two HPs.

“I think we’ll be able to attract more MDF dollars to the program once we can demonstrate the exact ROI for partner marketing activities back to the business groups, and to finance,” she said.