Over the past few months, the distributor surveyed vendor and VAR partners to see what its marketing programs were missing. “What our vendors told us was that they wanted to see us do less and do it better,” said Jennifer Johnson, senior director of marketing at Ingram Micro Canada. That message was for Ingram, but also distribution in general.
“For some reason distribution has been given a bit of a pass on providing ROI out of marketing and I think the reason is that many times, we interact with folks from the vendors who are more on the sales side,” Johnson said. “We used to take one message to the entire database that we had,” in what she calls a “spray and pray approach.”
Related story: Big week for Ingram Micro
Now, all participants in Ingram’s multi-vendor programs will receive standardized ROI reporting conducted by the distributor. “I think that’s going to be critical for success next year.”
The company’s marketing programs will take a more strategic, measured approach. “The data analytics piece is quite intensive,” Johnson said. “I think the message we got was Amen,” from vendors. “We need to be tapping into business intelligence and data analytics tools to make sure we’re taking the right vendor’s message to the right resellers at the right time as much as possible.”
Ingram has a team based in the U.S. that owns the complex data analytics tools for measuring companies’ success. “These guys have really helped us set the template for how we’re going to report,” Johnson said.
That team created templates that will report on technology by category and sales by vendor, including information on the top revenue providers, top advancers and top decliners. There will also be general ROI information such as brand exposure and Web metrics.
Ingram is not 100 per cent sure yet how the ROI reporting will be delivered, but it will either be twice a year or hopefully, quarterly, she said. Most tier one and tier two partners already receive quarterly business reports, so this may be rolled into that, she said.
Platinum level vendor partners will also receive detailed analytics reports for Ingram’s small and medium sized business program as well. Those vendors will receive more specialized reporting including revenue results and year-over-year performance data for their top 200 selected VARs, rather than all 700 who are part of the SMB program.
Partner networking and events
In 2012, the distributor will also be working to help partners network more. “VTN (Venturetech Network) is pretty much business as usual because it’s doing extremely well and we’re seeing growth in that partnership,” Johnson said.
However, it will be working on cross-chapter networking events. Partners in Montreal and Quebec’s chapters may interact frequently, but may not interact with other chapters in Western Canada, for example.
This is all part of the overall goal of getting partners to work together, which is something Ingram has encouraged in the past. The recent acquisition of Toronto’s KLM Solutions by Quartet Service Inc. , for example, speaks to that, as the companies first engaged through Ingram’s VTN.
“That’s what we want to see SMBA turn into as well,” Johnston said, referring to the distributor’s SMB Alliance program.
Ingram will also consolidate its Connex, AIM and OEM programs under the umbrella of its Platform event to reduce travel time for partners. “If you have three or four events, there’s no way that our vendor reps have coverage to go out to say, Vancouver,” Johnson said.
This also will allow vendors to seek out more partners in various areas. The new consolidated events, which will be held across eight Canadian cities during 2012, will include focus on:
- Data capture and point of sale
- Digital signage
- Physical security
- Printing, imaging and supplies
- Wireless and mobility
“It makes perfect sense to have everybody in one venue and have access to all of the Ingram Micro executives,” Johnson added.