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Ingram Micro’s Marketing Message To Partners: Embrace Your Brand
“What we’re seeing is our partners embracing their brand and what they represent and who they are as a company,” said Jennifer Anaya, Ingram Micro’s senior vice president of global marketing. “You can replicate a lot of things in terms of skills or systems or tools that you use. But you really can’t replicate who you have on your team that has the expertise and the relationships and the knowledge that they bring.”
Prior to the pandemic, the majority of Ingram Micro’s marketing efforts were focused on the tools and technologies a partner can offer. Since then, however, the distributor has found these efforts—and the message being portrayed—have been flipped on their head. Today it’s all about the customer experience and the importance of a partner’s brand behind the business.
“What we’re seeing is our partners embracing their brand and what they represent and who they are as a company,” said Jennifer Anaya, senior vice president of global marketing at Ingram Micro. “You can replicate a lot of things in terms of skills or systems or tools that you use. But you really can’t replicate who you have on your team that has the expertise and the relationships and the knowledge that they bring.”
In addition, before the pandemic partners almost solely relied on in-person events to get in front of their distributor, vendors and even end customers, said Dennis Crupi, vice president of marketing at Ingram Micro.
“When the pandemic took all that away we all had to learn how to keep those points of connectivity alive and frequent through virtual experiences,” he said.
Ingram Micro, meanwhile, did some internal research and found that on average it provided at least six different products that make up a partner’s solution.
“Historically our partners were pretty focused on a smaller group of vendors. If Ingram on average is delivering six different products as part of a solution, that means those partners are having to have relationships with a lot of different manufacturers,” Anaya said. “Ingram is that consolidating point aggregating all that together.”
Partners today also are marketing the solution and not the vendors whose products make up that solution, she said.
“What those partners are providing is the expertise on how that solution works,” Anaya said.
“The outcome of what that solution should be doing for the business that it’s being implemented into is an entirely different go-to-market approach and message than our partners have historically had,” she said.
Partners are also adopting a customer experience model to wrap around their go-to-market efforts when marketing their technologies.
Partners that are able to define their stack and their process to focus more attention on ensuring a great customer experience are the ones seeing success, according to Crupi.
Because many solution providers are technologists, they “get really wrapped around tools,” Anaya added. That message has changed to get away from the understanding of the tools to focus more on the content.
“The tools are important because you need standardized tools connected so that you can understand what your customers are connecting with, whether it’s your website or social media handles,” she said. “That’s going to start to improve that customer experience and allow you to have that 180-degree view of how you’re marketing and what that does to back into how you’re selling and how you’re delivering.”
She added that partners want to engage and now use those tools to be smarter.
“We partner with a couple of outside companies and use their marketing automation platform to develop content that the partners can easily, at the click of a button, rebrand into their own brand, look and feel,” Crupi said.
James Rocker, CEO of Bohemia, N.Y.-based MSP Nerds That Care, likes that Ingram Micro’s marketing services address partners of all types.
“Everybody needs something sort of different so they provide a wide variety of services,” he said. “They’ve partnered with industry leaders and people who they found would be a really good fit for the partner community. That’s what I found to be most advantageous for my business.”
He said it’s also helpful to listen and learn about what others are doing to help their own business “walk the walk.”
“You’re not making that leap of faith by yourself,” he said. “You’re talking to others who have done that process before so you can really learn from all of the aspects that they have.”