Intel, Google Online Marketing Pact Gets Thumbs-Up From Partners

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Intel's online marketing pact with Google will expand opportunities for system builders and resellers, channel partners say.

The deal with the search giant, which was formally announced Wednesday at Intel's European Solutions Summit in Paris, is designed to give partners an easy way to create an online advertising campaign using marketing development funds from Intel.

Since the middle of last year, Intel and Google have collaborated on a set of tools that allow resellers to go online and order ads by filling out a form, said Michael Hoefflinger, general manager of partner marketing at Intel.

Resellers will be able to use Google tools to track and optimize how their marketing and advertising efforts are performing, he said.

The Google program and Intel's enhanced virtual storefront, part of the company's Intel Inside 2007 program, officially launch April 29.

Partners say they see the Google initiative as an on-ramp to online marketing.

"Online marketing is an extremely effective method of capturing new clients," said Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech, a system builder in Burnsville, Minn. "We've experimented with search engine advertising in the past, but the way Intel and Google have set this up gives us a lot of control to develop unique campaigns that will help us to effectively target niches that perhaps weren't available to us via traditional marketing efforts."

The enhanced virtual storefront will allow select resellers to place print ads, order merchandise and customize collateral marketing material with their company name or logo alongside Intel branding.

More important, the new program uses Intel's co-marketing funds, eliminating out-of-pocket expenses and administrative time for Intel partners. In the past, partners had to pay up front and wait for reimbursement.

Jeffrey Sherman, president of Warever Computing, a Los Angeles-based VAR, said he has no intention of using Google AdWords to attract Intel-specific business.

"Keywords looking for 'Intel' or other product-related words are going to attract semi-techies looking for the cheapest price on specific hardware. That's not the type of client I'm looking for. I'm looking for clients I can sell hardware to as part of a solution to their problems," Sherman said.

Nevertheless, he plans to use Google adwords to drive consulting business his way.

"This in turn translates into Intel product sales as part of an overall solution," Sherman said. "I do find it good that Intel is allowing their MDFs to be used in far greater ways, though."

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