Last week Tech Data Canada launched a new marketing initiative for the channel called TDEngage.
What makes this marketing program different is that it’s does not come in the form of a vendor directive. Irene Buchan, the director of marketing for Mississauga, Ont.-based Tech Data Canada, is spearheading TDEngage and she told CDN that this is a home-grown program for the distributor.
TDEngage has been running in Europe for about three years now and in the U.S. for about eight months. Buchan said this program tries to address the goals of the solution provider and the vendor partners. “We hear from resellers that they need help with marketing. Vendors tell us to help them get in-front of the end user. TDEngage responds to both,” she said.
The free online syndication platform updated solution provider Web sites with product and promotional information from Tech Data vendor partners. TDEngage is fully customizable and only takes 30 minutes to set up.
In two months’ time, Tech Data Canada will be offering a “Buy Now” button on TDEngage for approximately $200 per year.
The Buy Now button enables customers to acquire and pay for the product immediately. On the back end, once the solution provider partner accepts the order it is sent to Tech Data Canada for drop shipping. The paperwork will show that it came from the solution provider. The Buy Now feature can also be MSRP or cost plus depending on how the channel partner wants it.
What this does is free up marketing resources for the solution provider. Instead of staff resource working to collect product information from as many as three or four different vendors that person can now be used for more strategic marketing efforts. Buchan said that TDEngage does not take anything away. “They do not have to put something down to pick something up.”
What it also does is keep customers on the solution provider’s Web site. Typically vendors produce microsites for the channel community. These microsites, however, push customers off the original solution provider Web site. Buchan said that both the vendors and the partners agree that customers should say on the original solution provider Web site.
“During the demo session for TDEngage I was struck by one piece of feedback from a vendor. This vendor said that TDEngage is true value add from distribution. I took pride in that comment,” Buchan said.
She added that TDEngage is a big bet for Tech Data Canada. “This is our own baby. It’s a Tech Data driven initiative and we have a lot of activities focused on it,” Buchan said.
Solution providers are still struggling with marketing, Buchan believes. They typically do not have the resources or the bandwidth to do long term marketing campaigns that is, consistent, sustainable and repeatable. Another issue is that smaller resellers are unable to earn enough co-op funding from vendors to produce these types of marketing campaigns.
“This is why we needed to make TDEngage a seamless tool for the partners.”