The Digital Marketing Era: Why It's Do-Or-Die Time For The Channel


OPINION


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The critical factor with regard to who enters the next class of fast-growth solution providers largely will be determined by digital marketing demand generation expertise.

Uber transformed the taxi business and made the big yellow taxi a dinosaur. Cab drivers who had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a medallion and watched their value plummet were oblivious to the smartphone technology revolution.

That same kind of technology revolution is taking place today in the form of digital marketing in the channel. The problem is a lot of solution providers are just like those taxi drivers who didn't see Uber coming.

[Welcome To The Rise Of The Strategic Service Provider Business]

Fortunately, they are now getting help crossing the digital marketing divide from vendors that are betting big on the continued strength of the channel to drive sales growth.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a channel powerhouse for more than 30 years, is leading the way — making huge investments in education, tools, training and resources that partners can take advantage of to drive demand.

HPE is taking its Digital Marketing First initiative, a staple of the company for the past several years, to new heights with the formal launch of the Partner Ready Digital Marketing Program. The program brings together all of the critical tools and assets in a single, comprehensive program.

Among the game-changers brought to market by HPE's Digital Marketing First Team are a breakthrough social media center tool—created with input from partners — which is being used by 1,500 partners in 113 countries; a Product & Solutions Now content repository that has had 20,000 asset downloads; and a marketing

concierge service partners can query to find any and all content they need to drive effective digital marketing campaigns.

Partners that have taken advantage of the HPE tools said it has had a transformative effect on their business, driving leads that translate into sales growth. They also said the resources provided by HPE Vice President of Worldwide Channel Marketing Chris Ogburn and his team are at the top of the digital marketing pyramid.

Ogburn, a passionate proponent of the digital marketing partner transformation movement within HPE, said every single one of HPE's 100,000 partners should be taking advantage of the digital marketing program tools and resources that are available to them at no charge.

"This is all driven by the change in the way the customer is behaving — their buying process and habits," said Ogburn. "This starts with the customer. Partners need to change or adapt or they are going to be left behind. Partners doing digital marketing are the ones that are going to see better pipeline and sales results. Partners that are not doing this are going to lose customers without even realizing it until it is too late."

Ogburn is right. The time to transform for every single partner is now. There is no choice. It is a matter of survival.

BACKTALK: Are you building up your digital marketing expertise? Contact Steven Burke at sburke@thechannelco.com.

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