Sony Delves Deeper Into The Channel

Mike Abary, Sony&s general manager for Vaio product marketing, said the plan is now under consideration by several executives at the company, which, he said, has maintained a consistent channel strategy despite high-level executive changes this year.

“It makes a ton of sense to have promotional activity or some sort of program activity with, for example, a Vaio and a projector,” Abary said. “Or a Vaio and a large display, because that&s typically what we see as the purchase trend from our business customers.”

Abary said a committee inside Sony, made up of leaders of each of its product categories, has begun taking an “aggregate view” of how the company could leverage all of its brands and products against each other.

“Why not reward them? Why not motivate and incent them to continue to purchase Sony business products? We have a huge portfolio of business products that people don&t realize,” Abary said.

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Among competitors, Samsung has adopted such an aggregate approach with its channel: providing financial incentives to solution providers for the aggregate amount of products they sell from their IT products line. But with Vaio, Sony has a notebook product with North American distribution—Samsung does not.

“All of the infrastructure to sell those kinds of products for Sony is there,” said Timothy McGrath, a field representative at SHI, a Penfield, N.Y.-based solution provider and Sony partner. “Their new management team is looking at things with a different eye.”

McGrath specifically cited Sony&s emphasis on “customer acquisition,” as well as a strategy of paying compensation to resellers on the back end, rather than providing discounts to their end users to fight on price. “They are saying, flat out, ‘We want to pay you guys.& ”