Partners mixed on Marketing Depot program, HP support

HP channel partners are pleased with improvements to the Marketing Depot program, but say they need more sales support from the vendor.

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HP’s new Marketing Depot offers channel partners a revamped marketing management tool that offers some improvements, but some partners say it lacks flexibility and may not help the ones that are struggling with bigger problems.

Through the economic downturn, some partners sold fewer Hewlett-Packard (HP) products -- dropping those partners under the $500,000 sales mark. With that drop, HP retracted the partners dedicated partner business manager (PBM) status, regardless of the partner’s past performance.

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At least two HP partners see this pull-back as a lack of support from HP.

“The problem with HP has been that there has been no recognition of their role in our success or failure,” said Daniel Duffy, CEO of Valley Network Solutions Inc. in Fresno, Calif. “There’s no continuity in the business relationship. The loss of the PBM, the loss of the leads and the loss of the sales support people didn’t help.”

The PBM served to guide partners to program opportunities from HP, and without this help, channel partners are left to read and prioritize the numerous initiatives and email from HP with little guidance.

Another HP partner who sought support said he wasn’t thrilled when HP cut off his benefits during a slow year.

“If you trended as if you were going to be over $500,000 in sales, they’d hook you up in the past,” said Carl Mazzanti, CEO of eMazzanti Technologies in Hoboken, N.J. “But now they cut off benefits if you do not trend above $500,000, because historical sales no longer matter.”

The HP sales staff was under so much internal pressure, Duffy said, that they supported partners that would bring in the next big deal and ignored partners who had done better or could have done better with more support.

“With HP, the partnership only seems to be a partnership when times are good,” he said. “I'm hopeful things will improve under Meg Whitman.”

The loss of the PBM was also cited by Duffy as a reason that HP partners might not pick up on the changes to the new Marketing Depot tool.

New Marketing Depot may help partners win sales

Though some channel partners say that HP needs to add flexibility and listen to partners and help them sell the company’s offerings, other partners consider the new Marketing Depot program a step in the right direction.

The improvements over the former marketing interface, Campaign Central, gives partners access to a dashboard of reporting and metrics capabilities and the ability to launch multi-touch campaigns. It also provides smarter campaign analysis, real-time campaign cost and promotional dollars availability insight, and better navigation within the HP Marketing Depot site.

For example, when a partner creates a registration link for an event, the form is linked directly to Marketing Depot. Campaign Central lacked this integration capability and left partners to use other products such as eCoast Sales Solutions. It’s also helpful for large batch email promotions for marketing to send out, said Phil Migitz, inside sales manager at Pride Technologies in Cincinnati, Ohio. He started using Marketing Depot in August 2011.

“If someone clicks on the link for a demo, their info goes into the Depot and we have access to that as well,” Migitz said.

The previous HP marketing toolkit had layers of information, so the streamlined approach of Marketing Depot is an improvement, said Matt McKethan, business development representative with Resilient Intelligent Networks.

“It’s like a single pane of glass as far as looking into current, upcoming and past campaigns and tracking ROI and effectiveness,” he said. “It’s multifaceted, and we use it for event syndication and email blasts.”

One HP partner has had to “jump through flaming hoops” to get HP to support its one big marketing event each year because the partner’s event doesn’t fit into HP’s standardized format, and therefore the budget needed extra approval steps.

“The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit everybody,” Duffy said. “I think the program itself is a good idea. They just need to be flexible. We should have the flexibility to use it to support our business as long as it’s supporting HP.”

But it may be easier for small firms to use prebaked campaigns from HP, said Carl Mazzanti.

Since launching in November 2011, 2,198 users have signed up and deployed 1,000 marketing initiatives. HP has 170,000 partners worldwide.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Leah Rosin, Site Editor, or follow us on Twitter.

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