Microsoft is planning to plough more than $10m in partner-focused marketing over the coming year as it strives to make the aggressive messages coming out of its global partner conference a reality.
On the final day of the World Partner Conference 2012 in Toronto, which has seen the launch date of Windows 8 finally announced and the launch of Windows Phone 8 along with a slew of other product announcements, partners were split into their country groups and given a more detailed run down of the vendor’s plans for the coming year.
Janet Gibbons (pictured), director of partner strategy and programmes at Microsoft UK revealed that the UK is going to be spending a whopping $60m in demand generation marketing over the coming year, with $10m of that earmarked for ‘below the line’ partner specific spend.
“We want to spend most of that money with partners. You have asked us to share the marketing that we are doing at Microsoft and this is what we are doing,” she told the packed audience.
From next week, partners will receive a monthly communication from Microsoft outlining the media campaigns it is running, and offering them the chance to get involved in the campaigns, Gibbons explained.
“Every campaign will have an action to ‘go find a partner’ as well,” she said. “The team is going to be there for you to call and speak to, almost like a concierge service and we will be promoting partners to customers.”
Another initiative unveiled by Gibbons was the ‘Statement’ – almost like a bank statement, which every partner will have access to, enabling them to check their status as a Microsoft partner. It will contain details such as their competencies, how well they are leveraging different partner programmes and also show them their user rights of Microsoft software, to ensure they remain compliant.
In addition, Gibbons said skills was another issue the vendor was addressing, with plans to continue training partners through its cloud training academy.
“We have trained nearly 1,500 people in the channel since the launch of our academy, and we want to get another 700 apprentices into the channel,” she said.
“My job and the job of every single person at Microsoft is to make sure you get value from our relationship and ensuring you keep telling us what it is we should be doing,” Gibbons concluded.
Barry Ridgway, general manager of SME and Partners Group at Microsoft, stressed the size of the opportunity.
“Never in the history of Microsoft have we had so many products coming to market in one year. It is a new era and about taking partnerships to the next level as well as targeting growth,” he said.
And he added the opportunity was ripe. “40 per cent of the marketplace still has legacy technology,” he said. "We have a huge opportunity with our installed base. There are just so many windows for opportunity. We are getting aggressive and going after [market] share."
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