Intel Raps Marketing Drum In Drive For Double-Digit Channel Growth

Intel is launching a new vertical partner marketing offensive to drive double-digit sales growth in the channel this year.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company launched the new Market Smart initiative at the Intel Solutions Summit in Dallas this week, equipping partners with content and training tools to grow their customer base in vertical markets.

"The idea is to take all this great vertical content, package it up and provide turnkey marketing solutions [to partners]," said Brian Fravel, vice president of North America marketing at Intel. The aim, said Fravel, is to make it as "simple as possible" for partners to spend more time in the sales trenches selling rather than trying to build their own marketing materials.

[Related: Intel Solutions Summit: 10 Blockbuster Technologies To Boost Business]

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In addition to marketing banners, content and training materials, Market Smart will equip partners with sales playbooks and other information to help them close complex deals in vertical markets like health care and education.

The marketing content involves vertical-specific research inspecting trends, opportunities and threats in marketplaces, which partners may not have the time to conduct on their own, according to Fravel.

For instance, there may be specific regulatory and compliance standards in vertical markets that partners must be aware of in order to be successful.

"The way, the market's technology decisions are being made by line-of-business decision-makers, so you need to go into a health-care system and talk about why it benefits the administrators and doctors, not why it benefits the IT guys," said Fravel.

In addition, Intel will be launching Elevate, a new sales and marketing campaign to cover "everything from servers and CPUs to desktop, mobile, network and storage," said Fravel.

Intel's new marketing initiatives come after the technology giant revealed specialty designations last month for the education and the Internet-of-Things retail vertical markets. Those vertical designations provide Intel technology providers with new incentives and technical support to grow sales in highly complex vertical markets.

Intel has publicly stated that it hopes the new marketing efforts will help drive at least 10 percent growth in the channel in the coming year.

Partners cheered the new marketing resources and vertical designations as critical in driving robust sales growth.

"The Intel brand is priceless in many ways from the credibility standpoint that it brings to customers," said Martin Smekal, president and CEO of Torrance, Calif.-based Intel partner TabletKiosk. "At the end of the day, Intel's manufactured products are still the backbone for the channel. The channel's part in all this is to look at Intel's products and say, 'Here's how I'll monetize it and make it my own.'"

Last year, Intel offered 10,000 vertical-oriented training sessions to partners. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's goal this year is to double that vertical-specific figure, and grow overall general training sessions by 30 percent in 2015, helping boost its overall revenue.

To do this, Fravel said Intel is giving partners the marketing muscle to drive workforce transformation and productivity with Intel's technology products, including solid-state drives (SSD), the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and the Compute Stick.