Why Logitech isn’t just about mice anymore

Logitech is seeking to break free of its peripherals-only image with a major channel push in Canada, armed with new partner program and a new portfolio of business-focused products.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company has long been known for its computer accessories, such as keyboards and mice. But last April, it launched its Logitech for Business group and began ramping up its business-to-business (B2B) product portfolio. And in July it launched the Logitech Partner Program in the U.S., a tiered program that includes sales and marketing support and upfront purchase discounts.

“We found it was a pretty big business for us even though we had minimal focus on it,” said Vince Alvarado, Logitech’s director of B2B sales and marketing. The brand recognition Logitech has had over the years unintentionally gave it presence among businesses as well.

Now, the company is making more of a push in Canada, launching the program here and hoping to grow its Canadian partner base at a similar rate to that south of the border. In its first six months, Logitech signed on 100 partners in the U.S. and now is close to 200.

“We really took some of the best aspects of  the partner programs we know other manufacturers have out there,” Alvarado said.

Currently, its partner program is independent from that of LifeSize Communications, the video conferencing company Logitech acquired in 2009. While he doesn’t foresee the program integrating any time soon, Alvarado said that Logitech is working with LifeSize to onboard partners into its newer program. Current LifeSize partners would have to sign up for Logitech’s partner program separately.

Part of its Canadian efforts include hiring former GB Micro account manager Jimmy Stillo as its B2B sales manager in Canada. The company recently closed its Mississauga, Ont. office, but Logitech for Business operates as its own group, with Stillo running the Canadian portion out of Toronto.

Logitech for Business does include its own product development team. Most recently, the company launched several unified communications products, including the BCC950 ConferenceCam and a Microsoft Lync-certified headset.

“With the new Logitech for business group, we are starting to develop products that are focused on the B2B market,” Alvarado said. Those products won’t be in the retail or e-tail space, but instead sold through channel partners. More business-focused products will be coming throughout the year, he said.

Logitech has partnered with distributor Synnex Canada and will seek to further expand its distribution relationships.The company is targeting large resellers such as CDW Canada as well as smaller value added resellers and integrators.

While its current portfolio is geared to businesses of various kinds, it has signed on some vertically-focused resellers in the U.S., in areas such as education and government, Alvarado said he foresees a similar scenario in Canada.

Surprisingly, Logitech’s consumer and retail legacy has been more helpful than a hindrance, according to Alvarado. Purchasing agents and IT decision makers have strong brand association with Logitech, so  tapping into more corporate environments hasn’t been as challenging as some might think.

Purchasing from one manufacturer is also a selling point, he said, since it makes support much easier. “It’s been a very pleasant surprise for us.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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