HPE looks to turbocharge partner marketing with new Digital Marketing Program

While many of the program’s components existed before, HPE is doubling down on promoting them as a bundle, looking to get greater numbers of them involved in an area where the vendor says many partners need to be doing more.

Chris Ogburn, HPE’s vice president of worldwide channel marketing

LAS VEGAS – At its Global Partner Summit here on Monday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has expanded its partner-focused digital marketing efforts with its new Partner Ready Digital Marketing Program. It combines existing marketing initiatives with new investment and new programmatic elements.

“We are investing in a suite of digital marketing resources,” Denzil Samuels, HPE’s Global Channel Chief told the assembled partners in the Partner Keynote. “It will help you to build a pipeline and drive sales.”

“The time is right to package up a digital marketing program to give partners a more modern way to reach existing customers with advanced tools and content, said Chris Ogburn, HPE’s vice president of worldwide channel marketing. “Some partners are more advanced here, but frankly, many partners are lagging. This initiative benefits them, and benefits us.”

Many of the elements of the initiative are not new – hardly a surprise given that digital marketing has been a strong Partner Ready focus for several years. It does contain new programmatic components however, and the unified messaging strategy is new.

“We have built this in three buckets,” Ogburn said. The first is ‘Collaborate,’ with partners urged to leverage HPE resources, including MDF, Partner Marketing Managers, and Marketing Services Agencies to improve their marketing planning and execution.

“Our joint business planning with partners is strong compared to our competitors,” Ogburn said. “Part of that is a Joint Marketing Plan built as part of a Joint Business Plan, particularly around high growth, high margin areas like hyper-converged, flash storage, and composable infrastructure.”

Educate is the second bucket area, and consists of improving digital marketing with HPE’s educational resources and training. Like the Collaborate component, it also builds on existing initiatives, although some new ones are on the horizon.

“We have done some of this over the last 6-9 months, taking thought leadership and deploying into the channel,” Ogburn stated. “It is more important than ever to engage customers early in sales cycle, as they are doing their own research. We will accelerate things in this area starting in the second half of the calendar year with things like digital workshops, and on-demand content. That educational content can help partners get up to speed.”

Empower, the third bucket, is about accelerating digital marketing execution by leveraging HPE tools and co-marketing campaign content.

“In September, we launched the Partner Ready Social Media Center, and already have almost 1500 partners now using it across 113 countries,” Ogburn said. “We are putting in a lot more value-added content that partners can customize, including built-in analytics to show level of engagement, and one-click downloads that partners can use internally in their own engines. We are also now expanding it beyond English into Spanish, French, German Italian and Japanese.”

“This is a fabulous platform with rich content,” said Kathy Kinka, VP of Marketing with HPE partner Comport Technology Solutions from New Jersey. “It has everything we need to promote our buyers’ journey, from white papers to tweets to social media. We essentially outsource the basic content to HPE. It’s like having another person or two on my team. We can double down on making the content killer for our own markets where we are strong, like our health care vertical, because we can make it customizable for those buyers.”

Ogburn said that the uptake on this service to date had been pretty broadly divided between partner levels.

“There has been a pretty equal balance between Platinum, Gold and Silver, with even some Business Partners using it,” he indicated.

He also indicated that expanding the language support will pose a new challenge.

“It’s really important to keep social media up to date, because if it gets stale, it drops off dramatically in effectiveness,” Ogburn added. “The issue will be continuously uploading fresh content into the site and keeping it all updated in all the multiple languages.”

Ogburn also stressed partners need to be using other tools here, like Product & Solutions Now, Content Syndication, and the Partner Marketing Concierge Service.

“These are built around tools and content in areas and with ways that we know customers are engaging in before purchase,” he said. “Some partners are really outdated there, and this can help them with things like SEO. Product and Solutions now is a repository of product sales and market content. Concierge Service lets them ask questions by email or chat, and the service will get back to them with a response and sometimes a link.”

Ogburn indicated that data tells them that to date, the smaller partners are the ones who have been using the Concierge Services.