Its a whole new world out there and the Webs become the first port of call for customers looking for partners to give their business to. But how would you know? The sad truth is that most channel partnersbogged down by the daily grinddont really leverage the Web to raise their companys profilesand drive sales.
Channel partners who decide not to make the time to explore and leverage the Internet to grab more of their clients mindshare, have to be willing to pay a very real price. This can come in the form of lower brand recall, untapped opportunities, and less accurate leadsand the price associated with chasing them.
Its very critical for SIs to have a positive image of their brand online or risk customers not considering them, says Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, whose client list includes names like Godrej, Kotak Mahindra, Aditya Birla Group, and Ddamas.
The benefits of using the Web exist say analysts. Today, online tools can help establish a partner organizations knowledge credentials and market it to a much wider audience, says Neha Jalan Goenka, senior associate at AMI-Partners, who believes the medium in under utilized by the partner community in India.
The good news is that there is a growing number of enterprise channel partners who realize what they are missing out on. One of them is K.V. Jagannath, MD and CEO of Hyderabad-based Choice Solutions. The Weband the wide repertoire of things it encompassesis a powerful tool. I admit its been a weak area for us, but we are consolidating our work in this area. We plan to work on this ASAP because weve realized the importance of online marketing campaigns, he says.
Ayan Mitra, AVP marketing at Mumbai-based Omnitech InfoSolutions is another convert. The time has come. Our entire general marketing activities will be wholeheartedly focussed online. Its imperative that we reach our external stakeholders, and prospective customers, through different online tools and target them for our promotional activities, he says.
There are other channel partners who have wised up to the potential of Web-based marketing earlier on. Take the case of Chennai-based Kaar Technologies, which under the leadership of CEO Maran Nagarajan has already put in a place a strategy to leverage the Web and all its marketing tools. Key pillars of that strategy include a budget of Rs 50 lakhaimed solely at its online marketing activities for 2013and a team of four dedicated to online promotions and associated tasks.
Our organization has already gone through the evolution cycle. All these years, we have tried and tested various online tools and have focussed on what suits the organization. Almost half a percent of our top line is allocated for online marketing activities, says Nagarajan.
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