Last week, Peter O'Neill here, I had the pleasure of going to Marseille and contributing to Dell’s first EMEA-wide PartnerDirect Marketing Advisory Council. I led a session entitled “Leave Your Competitors Behind With Better Marketing Campaigns,” where I proved that vendor-centric fulfillment marketing models no longer work in today’s market because the modern empowered buyer now controls when and how information is found and consumed. 

The battle among tech vendor marketers to configure their programs and content accordingly has now really heated up. The very same trend is about to hit the channel as well — there are too many companies in the tech channel, so only those that market well and appear compelling to buyers will prevail.

I enjoyed discussing content management, the buyer’s journey, and digital marketing tactics with the 30-odd marketing professionals in the audience in Marseille. But even these marketing pros admitted that they still need ammunition to argue for more resources with their own executives, so I hope that the material I provided will be useful in that respect. Feel free to drop me a line if you would like a copy of the presentation as well.

One of the other discussions was about market development funds (MDFs), one of my pet topics. Two years ago, I wrote a Forrester report entitled Should B2B Tech Vendors Continue To Outsource Their Channel Marketing?,which caused a lot of discussion in the industry. MDF comes essentially out of the sales budget, and the program is often not even under the control of the vendor’s CMO. Dell presented the list of items that it supports through MDF programs; it was pretty much industry-standard but also opened up the possibility to add new items if requested. The partners have gone away to think about it — but I have some ideas already. Here is what I think should be included in a modern, marketing-oriented MDF menu:

■              Creative agency engagement. Often, a single partner cannot justify their own agency project.

■              Advertising discounts. Vendors often have global discounts for online and offline advertising.

■              Access to analysts. A little selfish, perhaps, but many partners would like to read our stuff and make inquiries.

■              Marketing training.Classes on new tactics like digital marketing, content management, and lead nurturing.

■              Marketing interns.Often, the partner cannot afford the resources for marketing programs.


How about you? Can you think of something that you’d like to offer in your MDF menu? Or perhaps you are already more creative than others and do offer some true MDF innovations. Please let me know and I will confirm that. As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics. Always keeping you informed! Peter