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Bob is the big name in distribution today

From Bob Clinton to a new OEM program named BOB, it is certainly becoming popular

One of the biggest missteps in Microsoft’s history was the BOB product. It was poorly designed and way too over hyped. But two distributors are hoping that Bob has a change in fortune for them.

First up is Bell Microproducts (Nasdaq: BELM) who have developed a new program called BOB or Build OEM Better. The storage distributor is introducing BOB in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard. The BOB program leverages Bell Micro’s access into embedded system manufacturers with equipment from HP to offer return on investment advantages to channel partners with OEM business.

Bell Micro is hoping that the BOB OEM-ready program will help channel partners response times to custom requests, as well as lower costs and accelerate delivery time.

Gary Gammon, senior vice president of enterprise marketing for Bell Micro, said the company is well equipped to meet the unique requirements of OEMs. By engaging with our BOB program, resellers will have access to our newly launched portal and the full support of Bell Micro’s expert team, as well as services such as product design, assembly, shipment, and service. For more on BOB, check out www.buildoembetter.com.

The second big Bob announcement is from Westcon Group, who has hired Bob Clinton as its chief marketing officer. The former Motorola and CA executive will now be in charge of the distributor’s global marketing organizations.

Westcon, ever since its Comstor push has been trying to introduce a customer-centric and data-driven marketing approach.

Westcon will be celebrating its 25 year in business early this summer and would like to enhance its brand in the channel and through social networking.

Clinton has some experience in this area. He developed and launched Motorola.com in 1994.

Distribution marketing is very tough and unlike other marketing jobs. In distribution you much find a happy medium of enhancing your company’s brand in the market, while also pleasing several other vendor partners. This is easier said than done especially when you have so many cooks involved.

Clinton said his marketing philosophy has always been customer-centric and data-driven. He wants to encourage both customer intimacy and transparency of performance. Marketing efforts will focus on four core elements: communication, collaboration, consistency and commitment.

In non-Bob news: D&H Distributing is putting an effort together to capitalize on the PC refresh cycle coming from Windows 7. They are encouraging their reseller customers to push high-margin add-on technologies such as firewalls, storage systems, and wireless infrastructures.

At Tech Data, the distributor announced that its Healthcare Specialized Business Unit (SBU) has added new grant writing and grant tracking services for resellers delivering IT solutions to healthcare providers nationwide. Tech Data partnered with the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) to provide resellers with discounted services, including professional grant writing, review and coaching.