Symantec Pumps Up SMB Partner Marketing Support

Symantec Campaign Creator lets partners build their own customized and co-branded marketing campaigns. The process is simple: The partner logs into Symantec's PartnerNet portal, uploads their logo and then selects a template for their e-mail or flyer campaigns. Once they're done, the partner can upload an e-mail list and blast it out from inside Campaign Creator.

Tricia Atchison, senior director of channel marketing for the Americas at Symantec, says the idea is to save time and provide partners with a framework for marketing that's consistent with Symantec's own approach.

"When I look at SMB partners, everyone's stretched really thin," said Atchison. "Some of these companies don't have much time to spend on marketing, or they may come from a technical background and have a very technical sales approach."

Victor Villegas, vice president of marketing and business development at CMT, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based Symantec partner, expects Campaign Creator to make his company's marketing more efficient. "In the past, we've typically used different e-mail vendors and marketing creative agencies for look-and-feel, but now we can do it all in a one-stop shop," he said.

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But marketing tools don't mean much without marketing support, which is why Symantec this week also debuted its Partner Support Center for Marketing, which provides answers to questions partners have as they're getting their feet wet with Campaign Creator and other marketing tools. Inbound phone support is one of its key new features, according to Atchison.

"The first time they use Campaign Creator, partners might be confused, so they can call support center to make sure their logos are in the right format," said Atchison. "It's really a touch point into that community."

Partner Support Center for Marketing is also an outbound call center that Symantec uses to reach out to partners to inform them about various channel incentives and programs. "We want to be proactive because a lot of times this set of partners doesn’t get that proactive communication. We're doing the job of the partner account manager," she said.

Darrel Bowman, CEO of Tacoma, Wash.-based, sees the tools as a step in the right direction for Symantec.

"It's extremely encouraging that they're bringing SMB partners to the table to talk about specific issues and concerns they're dealing with," said Bowman. "It's great that they want to have this conversation with us and start moving in a positive direction."

Symantec has been stepping up its engagement efforts with SMB partners. In June, the company launched a new 20-member SMB advisory council comprised of solution providers representing small companies or distributors with a small business focus, in addition to large account resellers with an SMB practice.