IBM To Offer Partners Free Access To Online Marketing Applications


IBM will offer its channel partners one-year free use of the IBM Marketing Center, the company's cloud software that combines online marketing capabilities and customer analytics.

The offer will be announced next week at IBM's SmarterCommerce Global Summit in Nashville, Tenn. The company is hoping that in addition to helping partners be more effective in their marketing efforts, partners will become more familiar with the software-as-a-service products and sell them more proactively.

"It's a hot product for us. And now we're putting it in the hands of our business partners," said Craig Hayman, IBM general manager of industry solutions in an interview.

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Businesses use IBM Marketing Center to design and execute marketing campaigns, including building prospect lists, developing marketing content and instrumenting emails to track response rates. To do that today, solution providers must either invest in the IT hardware and software needed to install their own marketing system or hire an outside agency to perform the work, Hayman said. Either way, the costs are high and the work can take time, he said.

Under IBM's offer, partners can have free access to IBM Marketing center for one year. "They can run as many campaigns as they want and target as many customers as they want," Hayman said.

IBM made a similar offer to partners at the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in February for free one-year use of IBM Digital Analytics, previously known as Coremetrics, which IBM acquired in 2010.

Cleargoals, an IBM premier business partner based in New York, already has plans to use IBM Marketing Center and is just waiting for account access from IBM.

"This will give us the capabilities to use this set of rich features for our own enterprise, which will mainly allow us to analyze our website's visitors, and also execute some digital marketing campaigns, as needed," said Benoit Stephenson, president of Cleargoals, in an email. "Additionally, this will give us an environment that we can use to make sure that we are always one step ahead of our customers and prospects by allowing us to test different scenarios and defined best practices."

Hayman said providing partners with free access to the IBM software constitutes a new level of assistance IBM offers solution providers, with the vendor's products and services constitutes the first level and traditional channel program incentives the second level. "We're really experimenting with a third value for the partners," Hayman said.

PUBLISHED MAY 17, 2013