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July 9, 2012
Last week, IBM (NYSE: IBM) quietly told channel partners it had changed some of its co-marketing eligibility criteria — specifically, terms and conditions that affect reimbursement for events such as attending a seminar, conference, trade show or some other similar activity.
While IBM acknowledged it had modified the co-marketing program, the vendor declined to provide any details of the changes, including why the change was made.
“Effective July 2, IBM Business Partners must adhere to an enhanced criteria to maintain eligibility for reimbursement of co-marketing funds for events,” said an IBM spokesperson in an e-mail. “This shift is a demonstration of how IBM is committed to helping our business partners drive growth while also delivering value to clients.”
You may remember that IBM’s 2012 co-marketing program for midmarket partners reimburses up to 75 percent of the total cost incurred by solution providers for approved activities involving IBM hardware, software or services. According to IBM’s 2012 Co-Marketing Guide, the point of the program is to “reward Business Partners who are in market early with campaigns and are generating wins as a result of the program.”
In 2011, the company pledged to spend more than $100 million on midmarket marketing and demand generation for activities such as traditional advertising, web marketing and social media. Asked if the new program modifications mean less funding will flow in partners’ direction to underwrite marketing activities, IBM denied it is cutting outlays and, instead, affirmed adding measures to improve partner marketing.
“With this announcement, we are not reducing our marketing investment in supporting business partners, and are adding to the marketing best practices provided to our Business Partners to further boost the effectiveness of their marketing investments with IBM,” the IBM spokesperson said.
And, said the vendor, the changes will be good for partners.
“By implementing these enhancements to its co-marketing event policy, IBM is also reinforcing our long-standing commitment to our Business Partners while also enabling our business partner community to evolve as we shift toward the journey of building digital eminence with mutual clients,” said the spokesperson.
Indeed, the co-marketing changes must have had some significance to them, enough at least to prompt one of IBM’s distributors, Arrow ECS, to schedule two conference calls for its channel partners to get the information.
Program changes notwithstanding, solution providers at the PartnerWorld member level will still work through TSL Marketing, a Quincy, Mass.-based IT marketing specialist. Premier and Advanced level partners may work with an agency of their choice or their own in-house marketing or production department.
Security Added to SVI program
IBM’s Software Value Incentive (SVI) program rewards channel partners for spotting sales opportunities and influencing sales, irrespective of whether they resell the software. Last week, the vendor added Internet Security Systems (ISS) hardware and software non-Passport Advantage (its licensing and subscription template) products for non-public sector sales in North America to the SVI program.
Adding those security products to SVI takes them out of IBM’s deal registration program.
To qualify for security SVI, channel partners must have at least two technical and one sales certification in the IBM Security Systems Authorization group.
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