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May 16, 2011

2 Min Read
Lenovo Set to Triple Consumer Advertising to Win SMB Channel

The first-ever Lenovo Accelerate: Channel Partner Forum has kicked off in Las Vegas. The VAR Guy is seated front-and-center at the conference. Instead of hyping cloud and new form factors like tablets, Lenovo stuck with bread-and-butter messaging. Indeed, the nearly 500 partners attending the conference grew their Lenovo-related sales roughly 30 percent in 2010 vs. 2009, according to Lenovo. Now, Lenovo is preparing to triple its consumer-oriented marketing to win the SMB channel. It’s called the “For Those Who DO” campaign. Here’s the update.

Most of the deep discussions and keynotes don’t start until Tuesday, May 17. But during a welcoming keynote today, David Schmoock, senior VP and GM of Lenovo North America, said the company has built new relationships with roughly 3,600 business partners. Also, Schmoock said Lenovo’s consumer investments are paying dividends in the channel — since SMB customers are also consumers. In fact, Lenovo plans to triple its consumer advertising to drive SMB sales, said Schmoock. The key message, called “For Those Who DO,” will highlight Lenovo products that enable people to DO special things, personally or professionally.

More than 500 people are attending the conference including:

  • 275 US channel partners

  • 114 Canadian partners

  • 51 Central America and Caribbean partners

  • 40 strategic and alliance partners

  • 30 distributor representatives

  • 70 Lenovo executives

Schmoock was relaxed and on-message throughout his keynote. “We don’t want to take a break; we’re winning as a team and we want to keep this momentum going,” he said.

Defining Success

To win in 2011 and 2012, Lenovo plans to:

  • Partner with the channel in such vertical markets as K-12, healthcare, state and local government.

  • Drive sales conversions of ThinkPad customers to desktop, workstation and server solutions.

  • Continue sales coverage expansion.

  • Drive Lenovo brand support through marketing efforts.

How will Lenovo define success in the new fiscal year? Schmoock said Lenovo gained 1.2 percent market share last year, and Lenovo hopes to gain another 1.5 percent market share this year, while continuing to drive a premium to the market of more than 20%.

“I don’t want to just buy business; I want to drive profitable, sustainable gains with you,” Schmoock told attendees.

The opening session lacked loud noise. There were no fireworks. No big product announcements. No hype. Simply put: The opening session was refreshing.

The big question: Can Lenovo really drive profitable market share gains with channel partners? The VAR Guy will pose that question to multiple sources over the next few days.

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