This is Judi Uttal signing back in for my next post for the Technology Marketing Center.
This week we held a webinar with Box, a leading enterprise Cloud storage company. The focus of the webinar was a demonstration of the integration of EnCase eDiscovery from Guidance Software with Cloud-based storage from Box. This webinar provides an example, of alliance marketing at work.
Alliance marketing is one of the cornerstones of hardware and software marketing teams alike. Why? Because alliance marketing activities lets you
- Talk about an integrated solution, and today no IT product stands on its own.
- Leverage each other's customer and prospect base.
- Enhance your position in market through association with another company who may be cooler, bigger, or more trusted.
Now my favorite joint marketing alliance program was one I drove several years ago, when I was at Emulex. At the time Emulex, like everyone else, was trying to leverage the virtualization wave. The leader, today and then, was VMware. VMware, on their own, was not that into Emulex. So we had to bring another player to the table. At that time we chose, Cisco. Emulex was one of the two dominant players in Fibre Channel adapters and Cisco was a significant player in the Fibre Channel switch market. So we first got Cisco on-board and then we reached out to VMware.
We started with a very comprehensive paper on how to implement virtual ports with VMware and Cisco - targeting VMworld. When you are a little company, you have to make up for your insignificance by driving the project and owning the heavy lifting. Which we did thanks to a fantastic Technical Marketing team led by Mark Jones. The paper ended up being a hot item; thousands of copies were handed out.
But the next phase was more inspired. Rather than doing yet another paper or a webinar, I suggested that we create a program with papers and webinars, focused on teaching storage architects how to deploy storage area networks (SANs) in a virtualized environment. We called this program SANVirtuosity. Our counterparts at Cisco and VMware went for it.
The program went on for several years. We had a website and around a half dozen papers. We gathered thousands of leads and we even did a survey getting very high approvals from the Storage Architects. Amazingly we were even able to get Cisco and VMware to help drive leads.Why a program? The effort to do cross-company collaboration is huge. To have a one-night stand, does little to create the positioning that we coveted. By implementing a program, we were able to create a community of Storage Architects and a buzz. Plus we were able to solidify our relationship with Cisco and VMware. And when they were working with us, they did not have time for the competition.
So what are the key takeaways for Alliance Marketing?
- Choose to partner with the leaders who are driving a major wave of adoption, letting you can ride that way of relevance and revenue
- When you are a small guy - you need to be creative and be willing to do the heavy lifting
- Don't do a one-off, consider implementing a program or campaign instead
- Make it last as long as you can
This blog is dedicated to Chris Halliwell. Chris and I met years ago when she was running Checkmate at Intel and I was the Product Manager for Microsoft XENIX. We met to collaborate on a three-way ad funded by Microsoft, Checkmate, and Intel's systems group. To this day, both Chris and I keep a framed picture of the “Microsoft Strike Gold” ad produced by Chiat Day, with Bill Gates promoting Why the 286 was good for XENIX. Cause in the end it is all about People.