IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Ingram Micro Arms Resellers with New Digital Demand Generation Program

Available in the U.S. and Canada at present and free to partners with vendor sponsorship, the new program provides all the elements of a complete search engine marketing campaign, including customized content and pay-per-click advertising. By Rich Freeman

Ingram Micro Inc. has introduced an online pay-per-click marketing program that seeks to help channel pros establish a digital presence for their brand while helping vendors get greater and more easily measured ROI on market development funds.

Called Partner Connect, the new offering has been in beta testing since earlier this year, and became generally available to partners in the U.S. and Canada today at Irvine, Calif.-based Ingram’s annual ONE conference, which is taking place now in National Harbor, Md., near Washington D.C.

VARs enrolled in Partner Connect receive all the elements of a complete search engine marketing campaign, including customized content, a unique domain name and landing site, three months’ worth of pay-per-click Google AdWords advertising, detailed reporting capabilities, and a performance tracking dashboard. The objective is to attract sales prospects to the landing page, where they can download a white paper or other collateral piece in exchange for their contact information.

All of the materials used in Partner Connect campaigns are developed by Agency Ingram Micro (AIM), Ingram’s in-house partner marketing team, and personalized to reflect a partner’s specific capabilities, areas of expertise, and location. AIM staffers also monitor results during campaigns and provide individual tutoring on mid-course corrections.

Resellers who wish to can use their own content instead of Ingram’s, and can also use Partner Connect’s underlying technology platform to conduct targeted email and social media marketing initiatives rather than pay-per-click search engine campaigns.

The “white-glove” assistance available through Partner Connect is what most distinguishes the program from other vendor and distributor marketing platforms, as well as marketing solutions like HubSpot, according to Dennis Crupi, executive director of marketing for Ingram.

“They can get a platform anyplace else,” he says. “They’re not going to get those services anyplace else.”

At least initially, most Partner Connect campaigns will be 100 percent paid for out of market development funds provided by vendors on behalf of specific resellers they identify. VARs without vendor sponsorship can leverage the program as well if they pay a one-time $1,500 setup charge plus $499 a month.

According to Crupi, Ingram developed Partner Connect in response to input from both vendors and resellers. Vendors want harder ROI measurements for MDF investments than traditional “analog” marketing efforts like lunch n’ learns can provide. Partners, meanwhile, want help establishing and popularizing a digital brand.

“They’re realizing that having a website does not mean they have a digital presence, and they realize that they need to begin to develop their brand online if they are to succeed in the future,” Crupi says.

Partner Connect addresses two of Ingram’s own top priorities as well, first by helping VARs produce a steadier flow of leads for solutions and services from companies on Ingram’s line card.

“We have the capability from where we sit to help generate end user demand and pull that demand back through the VAR on behalf of our vendor partners,” Crupi says.

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