For resellers, a common challenge is establishing thought leadership and overall branding representative of the individual company, while still staying true to vendor partners and their sales and marketing goals.
En Pointe Technologies is a hardware and software reseller, and added service provider. With 20 years in the IT industry, the company offers full pre-sales design, architecture and deployment services for a variety of products. En Pointe features offerings from major players, including Adobe, Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec and VMware. In fact, the company recently was awarded Western Region (WR) Large Account Reseller (LAR) Partner of the Year by Microsoft at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference.
In the following Q&A, John Bartz, Director of Marketing for En Pointe, delves into top channel trends and how the company stays ahead of the marketing curve.
Channel Marketer Report (CMR): What changes and trends are you seeing in the channel universe?
Bartz: The channel continues to evolve. For example, the trend for cloud is here to stay and is leading to a dichotomy in resellers — those who choose to keep things the same and sell hardware and software products, and those that are embarking on cloud-based services to stay current. In light of this, we have placed emphasis on our value-add services, in addition to selling hardware and software.
CMR: Events still are very important to both vendors and their partners. What is the strategy of your marcom team for executing compelling digital and in-person events?
Bartz: The key to our success in the digital and in-person events arena has been our relationships and reputation for producing quality events. We have produced events and webinars for a number of years, so we’ve reached a point where our customers look forward to our signature events that we produce year after year. They have spread the word to their colleagues in the field, growing our attendee base. The formula that works for us is having knowledge of our customer base and understanding the program elements that will prove valuable to them.
CMR: What other marketing tactics are En Pointe Technologies utilizing?
Bartz: We look to a multi-faceted approach that spans print and digital communication, social marketing, webinars and in-person events.
One of our most important assets is our partner relationships, which we continually leverage to deliver educational content to our audience. Because we are a multi-vendor business, we are a valuable, one-stop-shop training/educational resource. We leverage this theme and tout the business model in all aspects of our marketing strategy.
CMR: A variety of trends are emerging in the B2B and channel worlds, such as video, social media and other forms of interactive marketing and content. How does En Pointe stay at the cutting edge?
Bartz: We evaluate each trend as it makes sense for our organization, but both video and social marketing have become more prominent aspects of our marketing strategy because they’ve done well for us. We don’t necessarily aim to stay at the cutting edge of trends, but rather, continue the dialogue with both existing and prospective customers through whichever channel/conduit best facilitates the conversation.
CMR: Are there any specific campaigns/tactics that have been especially successful among partners and/or customers?
Bartz: As a national reseller, we’ve found that different tactics are needed in each geography. Overall, we continue to tweak our campaigns and activities to drive ROI, which for us results in sales. We have not yet found the perfect formula, so we are continuing to try a variety of tactics.
CMR: Do you rely on your partners at all to share content, campaigns and/or resources with you? Or is this something you do completely in-house?
Bartz: It’s a balance: We work closely with our partners to ensure we’re true to their brand identity, but we also customize each campaign/message so that it’s reflective of En Pointe and conveys the utmost value to our current and prospective customer base.
CMR: What is En Pointe Technology’s plan for the rest of 2013?
Bartz: Our plan for the remainder of this year doesn’t deviate much from our current strategy; however, we are placing an increased emphasis on specific verticals in which we’ve had recent sales success.
In light of our WR LAR Partner of the Year win at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, and our recent devices authorization, we look to further expand our recognition with the partners we represent and focus on those that deliver the most value to our company and to our customers.