Lexmark is investing heavily in raising its brand awareness and adding more dedicated channel staff this year to help it close the gap on rival Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Mark Seaman, SME director at Lexmark UK, told CRN: “We have some very aggressive goals this year. I’d like to grow the SME business, in terms of sales, by 40 to 50 per cent. If we grow by that much then we will significantly grow our market share. Our aim is to make a mark on HP’s market share.”
The printer vendor unveiled a new campaign – Lexmark Working For You – just before Christmas, which involved a series of TV and national newspaper adverts.
“We felt the need to raise our brand awareness,” Seaman said. “Lexmark Working For You is our theme for this year and we will be running the TV adverts again in the Spring.”
In a bid to enhance its support for its channel partners, Lexmark is in the process of bringing its telesales team in-house. It has also invested in two additional reseller managers and eight new corporate account managers.
“Three of the new corporate account managers will work in my team to target larger accounts and pass on business to resellers,” Seaman said. “They will help VARs close the business, then in time resellers will have the confidence to go after these types of larger accounts themselves.”
Lexmark parted company with distributor Micro Peripherals in December after 10 years of business. Seaman said this split will allow it to provide better focus to its three remaining distributors: Ingram Micro, Midwich and Northamber.
Alex Ward, commercial director at Midwich, said: “We’ve had a relationship with Lexmark for more than 10 years. The opportunities for resellers with Lexmark this year are enormous. The fact that the vendor will train resellers on how to sell print solutions and how to close the business is very important.”
Jason Harcourt, research analyst at Context, said: “Lexmark seems to have got back on track. It had a couple of years where it was treading water somewhat. In the fourth quarter of 2006 its laser-printer sales were up by 45 per cent on the same period in 2005.”
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