Juniper Networks will significantly expand the marketing and channel conference resources it offers partners, starting with a series of virtual events kicking off this month. It's all part of an expanded marketing push for Juniper, which is spending millions to reposition the company from a channel marketing also-ran to channel marketing powerhouse.
The events include virtual training and seminars, invite-only conferences specifically for female channel executives and Juniper's top regional VARs, and, for Juniper's worldwide partner base, the company's first-ever global partner summit.
"Juniper is making a large investment in partner marketing and wants to enhance our partners' exposure to marketing," said Luanne Tierney, Juniper's vice president, global partner marketing. "The same thing I'm hearing -- a consistent message from all our partners -- is 'Teach me the latest trends and techniques around marketing and how to build out the ultimate business plan.'"
Tierney left the top channels marketing job at Cisco in January. At Cisco, Tierney was known for a number of highly regarded marketing programs and conferences, including Cisco's annual Partner Velocity event, and channel observers wondered if she'd bring similar marketing muscle to Juniper under Lauren Flaherty, Juniper's tenacious chief marketing officer.
Now they have their answer. The first new event Tierney and her team are launching is called InnoVAR, and it's actually a series of virtual marketing conferences, the first of which kicks off Aug. 10.
Each InnoVAR segment is a one-hour webcast, and the Aug. 10 installment will feature Lorraine Antrim, co-founder of Core Ideas Communication. The topic? Communicating brand advantage using "messages that are crisp, concise and loaded with customer value," according to a Juniper promotion viewed by CRN.
Antrim's involvement continues a trend Tierney followed in her Cisco days, which was to bring in outside marketing experts, not vendor-specific marketers, to consult with partners.
"I'll host, the speaker will come in, and then there'll be opportunity for Q&A," Tierney explained to CRN. "In future ones we'll be able to start sharing best practices, and providing access to go in and look at partner marketing and show partners who are doing things well."
The InnoVAR webcasts will take place once a month, and partners will also be able to access them on-demand. Tierney said that InnoVAR may expand to an in-person event if the demand is there.
"First, we're starting virtually, and then as this community grows we may consider that," said Tierney, adding that Juniper will likely add co-marketing breakout sessions at Juniper's partner conference.
InnoVAR and marketing initiatives like it are tied to Juniper's upcoming Marketing Concierge, an online resource through which Juniper partners will be able to sign up for things like external marketing consulting and social media training.
Unlike the InnoVAR sessions, which are free to Juniper partners, access to certain Marketing Concierge programs will require investment. But according to Tierney, partners will be able to use Juniper market development funds (MDF) toward its programs.
Marketing Concierge officially launches in November. Another idea, said Tierney, is that Marketing Concierge resources will match to partner specialities, so that if a security-focused partner accesses the online portal, the portal will "remember" that partner's preferences and focus on content based on those preferences.
Tierney said she wants to get resources working immediately so that Juniper partners can try out what works and what will take a while to explore. Future InnoVAR sessions will include mobile marketing, video and social media interaction, she said.
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