Partner Marketing Push: Dell EMC Arms Partners With New MDF Resources

What started as a way to simplify and automate Dell EMC's market development funds strategy has become the online Partner Marketing Institute, a turnkey site where partners have access to a full suite of marketing resources and training aimed at giving them the tools to seamlessly make their marketing efforts an extension of Dell EMC's.

"It's huge," said Sonia St. Charles, CEO of Davenport Group, a national solution provider based in St. Paul, Minn. "By putting all of this into one place with quite a bit of collateral materials and resources, it makes it much easier for partners to go and find. It's a really smart strategy."

The creation of the Partner Marketing Institute was led by Cheryl Cook, who became head of partner marketing when Dell closed the landmark acquisition of EMC last September. The effort, she said, is a way to take EMC's existing Partner Marketing Academy and make it a comprehensive resource for partners that also relieves Dell EMC of some of that heavy lifting. Cook, senior vice president of global channel marketing, and her team will introduce the institute at Dell EMC World and roll it out later in May.

[Related: Dell EMC World 2017]

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The institute comprises eight courses for Dell EMC Platinum and Titanium partners, and seven courses for Gold partners, Cook said. "The courses are dedicated to enhancing [partners'] acumen around marketing, helping them scale their marketing awareness, scale their training," she added.

Courses will be available on training on and maximizing MDF, learning how to use Dell EMC's online rebate calculator, familiarizing partners with their marketing resources and measuring marketing ROI, according to Cook. It also will include courses on growing partners' business with distribution, brand awareness and training, social media marketing and "how to build and develop their business up to and including courses on what a well-balanced marketing plan looks like,' she said.

St. Charles said the institute will be especially helpful when it comes to social media marketing, an area in which it's difficult for many solution providers to carry out a unified, comprehensive strategy. "Dell has a very active social media presence and they have a lot of tools they use to manage their customers via social media," St. Charles said. Training on social media marketing via the institute "allows you to tap into their knowledge and really understand what best practices are," she said. "Whether it's me or a millennial, we all come at it very differently. It's good to have a standard approach to how we go about social media and get the benefit of Dell's experience over the years."

That's a key part of the strategy for Cook as well. "Social media marketing is the way the world is moving," she said. "I want to help cascade that knowledge, do some focused training so [partners] can be less dependent on a vendor for lead generation. We'll always help them with that and give them air cover, but where they can become self-sufficient the feedback has been extremely positive that they've been looking for ways to do that."

The aspects of Dell EMC's internal social media marketing strategies that are most effective and transferrable to partners will find their way into the channel through the institute, Cook said, including helping partners understand how to service their social media marketing efforts, measuring ROI, balancing where to invest and in which platforms, and how to measure those efforts.

Armed with training and know-how from the institute, partners will become an integral part of Dell EMC's marketing efforts, and Dell EMC will become almost an extension of partners' efforts, Cook said.