Charlene O'Hanlon

October 22, 2012

3 Min Read
Ingram Micro VTN: New Portal, Marketing Structure

Ingram Micro’s is using its VTN Fall Invitational to focus on the ways it works with and for its partner customers, officially rolling out a new member portal and unofficially discussing a new marketing strategy.

The portal is a credential-based site where members can log in and learn more about each other’s company, connect with each other based on different parameters, said according to event host John Fago, who’s also senior director of product marketing at Ingram Micro.

“Since the Spring Invitational we’ve been working on things structurally to bring a deeper experience to the membership, to evolve way we interact,” he said. “We are looking at driving deeper engagement into the community companies themselves around other functional areas like sales, marketing, engineering. Also, how do we better collect and utilize member profiles to build an experience around specific needs and business models, and how do we allow for more business to close by leveraging capabilities and driving a more efficient way for them to do business with each other? The events are more about that connection with each other than just the content we bring.”

The portal aims to offer that deeper level of information, so members can better connect with each other and grow their business through collaboration, he said.

Ingram Micro also announced the expansion of its special interest groups (SIGs) with the addition of Marketing and Cloud SIGs. Both groups aim to help VTN members move more aggressively by providing resources, information and other tools to foster their growth.

“Marketing is a pain point for so many organizations,” Fago noted. “This is a way for members to come learn what other members are doing, and to hear from resources such as HubSpot about what’s out there.”

Indeed, for some marketing is more than a pain point — it’s the one thing the may be standing between solution providers and more sales. Yet most VARs — especially those in the SMB space — don’t have the time, energy or expertise to plan and execute a marketing plan.

“We believe marketing can play a very big role in helping VARs to shorten sales cycle and expand and grow their businesses more quickly than in the past,” said Jennifer Anaya, vice president of Marketing for North America. “They have done an awesome job bringing new technologies to their existing customer base. We need to equip them to confidently go out and find new customers and give them what they need to establish relationship with new customers.”

But, she said, pushing programs, throwing MDFs or lobbing the latest promotion or co-up offers to them won’t help them build a cohesive and effective marketing strategy. So, with that in mind, Ingram Micro is making structural changes to its marketing organization to act as a services agency for its member partners.

“We will look and act like a marketing services agency, acting as a services business to help SPs and vendors,” she noted. “It’s about having access to that service that [VARs] can afford.”

The changes to Ingram Micro’s marketing structure will go into effect Jan. 2, 2013, at which time Anaya hopes it will bring true value-add to its partner customers.

“Marketing is real conversation. It’s a relationship: Who are you as a company and what do you want people to know what you can do for them?”

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