Ask and You Shall Receive: Get E-Mail Marketing Dollars

Today’s advice is specifically for computer resellers and distributors — but it can also apply to anyone who sells and distributes products from major companies.

Vendors such as Hewlett Packard, ViewSonic, and Sun allocate millions of dollars each year to market to partners and through partners. Leverage these programs to get marketing funds for your next business-to-business (B2B) email campaign.

In addition to email, these funds can be used to run a local marketing campaign, send direct mail, set up a booth at a trade show, get sales support and training, and so on.

These funds have two requirements:

  • The campaign must be brand-specific to the vendor from whom you’re requesting the funds.

  • You need a marketing plan.

Elay Cohen, a San Francisco-based channel consultant, explains it all in his blog. He says although many resellers know about these programs, they approach them the wrong way. They shoot off an email or call their reps to request funds without offering a concrete marketing rationale or plan.

Cohen writes:

Think about what you are trying to achieve. You might want to generate new leads? How many? You might want to generate new business? How much? By when? Think about these kinds of metrics and relate them back to the funds you are asking for. Sum up your costs and then submit it to your representative for approval. Make sure, once it is approved, to write down the approval number.

He goes on to say some companies offer an online form to complete with a mini-marketing plan built into it. If the company you’re interested in doesn’t, try this plan structure (we’ve customized it a bit for B2B email):

  1. Your company name and contact information.

  2. Activity type (e.g., email).
  3. Activity costs: (for email, that can include your list, copy, design, email provider, etc.) Don’t be skimpy.
  4. Event or campaign description.
  5. Total requested amount.
  6. Performance objectives (number of leads, seminar attendees, etc.). Find out realistic statistics for similar email campaigns.
  7. The products you’re planning to support.
  8. The markets you plan to cover.
  9. Campaign timeframe. If it’s scheduled to happen soon for a business-critical reason, you may get a faster response to the request.
  10. Past successes, if you’ve done this before.

Ask your rep how other resellers have successfully used B2B email so you won’t have reinvent the wheel.

Philippe Monrougie, of SSI hubcity, a major Northeast IT solutions provider, has used “Sun Funds” from Sun Microsystems to put together a marketing seminar.

Monrougie says, “We hired a marketing firm who scrubbed our database for us, put together email invitations and reminders, and handled the telemarketing. We ended up with a nice turnout and 25-30 prospective new customers who we are following up with now.”

SSI hubcity has also used Sun Funds to participate in a big sailboat race for channel partners, build a demonstration portal for the Sun Insurance Group, rebrand the company, and host a launch party.

If you’re someone who’s successfully requested and used vendor partner programs to get marketing funds for a B2B email campaigns, share your experience with Karen for a future column.

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