Small Is Beautiful: SMB Resellers Can Now Access Marketing Resources Just Like the Big Boys

Posted By: Jon Lavietes Global Alliance Summit,

In the last 10 years, marketing enablement has become a thing among partners (see “Self-Guided Tours in Partnerland,” Strategic Alliance Quarterly, Q3 2021). It is incumbent upon partners, particularly vendors, to provide templates for email campaigns, social media posts, videos, customized written content, and other arrows in the marketeer’s quiver. And while it might not be a surprise that the world’s largest independent software vendors (ISVs) and global systems integrators (GSIs) have the resources to automate marketing enablement efforts en masse, attendees of the 2022 ASAP Global Alliance Summit learned that technology is similarly empowering thousands of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to customize pre-packaged marketing tools promoting products and services of larger OEMs.

In the session “Size Didn’t Matter: How SMB Resellers Deliver on Big Brand Standards at Scale,”

Sherry Foster, president and cofounder of AscendX Digital, and Robb Franks, vice president of North America sales at Impartner, outlined a case study of a new software service that sees distributors aggregating marketing content from a handful of OEMs and repackaging it in a manner in which SMBs across the United States could execute marketing activity related to those vendors’ offerings. The win-win-win was clear for all parties: 

  • The OEMs could rest assured that their branding was reflected correctly across the websites and social media accounts of these smaller IT shops without having to hire additional partner reps to work with them one on one.
  • The distributors got to expand their value proposition beyond just product price and availability, while strengthening their relationships with both OEMs and SMB resellers.
  • These resellers, which often employ as little as eight to 20 people, few if any of whom are dedicated marketing managers, suddenly found themselves with the resources to generate new leads and expand their client base.

“Get It, Set It, and Forget It”

How does this service work? AscendX Digital built it using Impartner’s core through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) functionality as the foundation. The former worked with a handful of OEMs to select and deliver content and go-to-market and partner strategy to distributors, which acted as middlemen between the OEMs and the smaller resellers—the former generally spend more of their core resources on larger partners.

“They’re not going to hire hundreds of new channel account managers to handle thousands and thousands of SMB resellers. Now the SMB partners have a single point of contact for the [marketing] content,” said Foster. “We work with OEMs to make sure they have a good content strategy—to make sure that it’s on time, refreshed, and up-to-date.”

The distributor, which had already been the point of contact for core products, financing, and other services, could now add value by organizing all of these OEM offerings by solution area, which is what resellers preferred.

Foster summed up the reseller’s experience with this TCMA service in seven words: “Get it, set it, and forget it.” Resellers received a 30-minute overview and onboarding session of the service (“get it”), integrated a few scripts into their website (“set it”), and then “forget it. There’s nothing more they have to do,” said Foster 

Beating the Traffic to Scale to New Heights

The SMBs got access to a diverse grab bag of important marketing tools. First, they were able to showcase OEM product pages on their websites that look “native,” according to Foster, which resulted in traffic for both reseller and vendor. They also added other web pages containing videos, white papers, technical briefs, and pricey analyst reports that are normally out of smaller tech companies’ budgets. In addition, the TCMA service comes with resources for regular company blog posts—small resellers usually only have the time to compose the odd post here and there—as well as full execution on email campaigns to the reseller’s targeted distribution list and social media activity on Twitter and LinkedIn to drive traffic back to the reseller’s site.

“We measure that traffic,” said Foster.

Through this TCMA service, OEMs can scale their marketing efforts in this small-partner segment using minimal resources.

“I can do this for thousands of resellers,” said Foster. 

Make Global, Search Local

With buyers performing around three-quarters of their research up front in the purchasing process before even engaging vendors and service providers, resellers are under pressure to establish a strong web presence in the form of dynamic content on their websites and aggressive SEO efforts. Despite the global reach of these OEMs and the national influence of these distributors, about half of Google searches are local, according to the presenters. The TCMA service also includes consultation on Google Ad buys that increase the likelihood of local technology shops appearing in the top two results for web queries emanating from their regions.

“There’s a requirement now for a local presence because we’re not jumping on planes as quickly as we once were. We now rely on the local reseller to represent our brand,” said Franks. “We’re seeing massive benefit from the ability to use digital content to drive local decisions.”

Summit registrants can delve deeper into how this TCMA solution works and the benefits for OEMs, distributors, and SMB resellers by rewatching “Size Didn’t Matter: How SMB Resellers Deliver on Big Brand Standards at Scale” on the Attendify app. Hear the case against the notion that the value of this branded content will be diluted if dozens of resellers post and share it, as well as how AscendX Digital helps combat the rising costs of popular Google search keywords.