Monday May 14, 2012

Issue 14: Oracle Channel Marketing and Partner Demand Generation



Oracle Channel Marketing &
Partner Demand Generation

Christian Peter

Christian Peter
Alliances & Channels Marketing

Demand Generation is a proven business marketing function employed to target marketing programmes that drive awareness of a brand's products and services. Effective Demand Generation binds marketing and sales activities into a cohesive, structured effort. So how does a multi-national enterprise technology company famed for its marketing prowess and success, use Demand Generation to maximum effect?

What does Oracle mean by Demand Generation?

For Oracle, our partners and our customers, Demand Generation means Return on Investment (ROI). Often when we first discuss it with partners, they have mixed feelings about Demand Generation, because they immediately associate it with marketing spend. They are more comfortable spending money on sales effort as the returns seem more tangible to them. They know they need to spend on marketing, but are unsure of the ROI implications, so this is the area we focus on in our discussions.

Demand Generation can mean many things to Oracle, but always includes building brands, creating awareness in the market, understanding what Oracle does, and communicating this awareness to the market. In partnership with Oracle, businesses can use Demand Generation to uncover new opportunities and new customers, perhaps tapping new industry segments and asking about their IT requirements. But often it will be about going deeper into the installed base of Oracle or the partner and working on upselling in order to get a bigger share of the customer wallet.

Once partners have new opportunities, they may then need Oracle's assistance in closing the deals, and we can help that push by providing specific activities to accelerate the sales cycle. Imagine, for example, a partner that had identified 20 opportunities for Oracle Exadata sales in Spain - Oracle would be at hand to help get all those prospects together for a reference visit, a Proof of Concept (PoC) demonstration, a customer reference center visit, or a get-together for dinner at a relevant event.

This is all part of how Oracle uses Demand Generation to create awareness, build opportunities and accelerate partner sales processes.

How should partners engage with Oracle on Demand Generation?

"Joint campaigns are not about pushing Oracle, they are about generating demand for Oracle partners."

Oracle takes three main approaches to Demand Generation, in the shape of Oracle-led activities, partner-driven activities and joint activities.

A good example of Oracle-led (or field-led) marketing, would see Oracle define and set-up a Roadshow event. Entirely orchestrated by Oracle, this would typically drive relevant identified products and solutions into the partner's market. You can read more about Oracle-led Demand Generation in Tim Payne's article elsewhere in this issue of Partner Insight, but essentially Oracle initiates such activities and opens them up to partners which might become sponsors, provide speakers, or if the event was at a larger trade show, participate with a booth under the umbrella of Oracle-driven marketing.

Partner-led activities, as you might imagine, are driven by the partners themselves. They are strongly supported by Oracle with focused marketing kits, the Oracle Partner Event Publishing Service, and co-finance. These activities are above-all partner driven, but we are there for help where most needed.

Some of our partners are very self-sufficient in these areas and need just a little support, whereas others require stronger engagement with Oracle. Firstly, we provide basic online training covering areas such as considerations when creating eblasts, telemarketing tips, and maybe also some in-class training in areas such as the use of social media. But we obviously cater for many different partner types, from very large systems integrators (SIs) such as Capgemini, to smaller ISVs which just want to sell their product, and all the distributors (VADs) and resellers in between, so all of our marketing training must be tailored to each individual case.

On our Oracle PartnerNetwork portal, partners can find a specific marketing tab complete with campaign materials around all solutions, events kits, invitations, presentations, telemarketing scripts, customisable videos, and all kinds of logos that can be used in customer communications. There is also now a Partner Event Calendar open exclusively to Specialized partners. In the past the calendar on our main website only featured Oracle events, but now Specialized partner events are also presented to customers, linked to preferred marketing agencies. We also have agreements in place with Oracle PR partners to publish reference stories as well as work on press materials. We also offer webcast services through ON24 at an agreed rate, enabling partners to reach customers without visiting them all individually. Then, of course, we have our new Oracle PartnerNetwork Solutions Catalog, which you can read more about elsewhere in this newsletter.

Joint activities are particularly relevant when our partners don't have the extensive marketing resources available required to run their own activities. In these cases Oracle is ready to tailor and prepare content of marketing campaigns, put in money that balances partner financial commitment, and then deliver Oracle solutions expertise and extensive customer base. Local Oracle marketing teams can build Demand Generation campaigns for Specialized partners with all materials prepared and budgeted—we just need the partners to put in their share of investment, share their customer database and run the campaign together with Oracle. We track ROI, measure targeted audiences, and report opportunities that are generated and revenues that arise.

Joint marketing campaigns are becoming more important for us. We don't just want to sell Oracle products, but also the services that our partners are offering, whether that be systems integration or ISV products. The objective of partner marketing is always to market the complete offering. We've done this very successfully over past 18 months with ISVs (with cVidya offering Revenue Intelligence on Oracle Exadata to EMEA telecommunications and media service providers, for example). Our campaigns have the look and feel of our partners, and by working with each partner we can build a Digibook using content from both the partner and Oracle, with links to events, contacts and more.

Why is Demand Generation valuable to Oracle, and to its partners?

Demand Generation brings both Oracle and Oracle partners three key benefits. It delivers awareness and demonstrable success. It helps accelerate sales processes. And, above all, it establishes a measurable pipeline of new opportunities and existing customers.

We have dedicated teams and dedicated budgets set aside to run opportunities for them, and our VADs will also help in the overall task of creating a joint ecosystem between Oracle, VADs and partners.

Partners should engage with their regional VAD and Oracle Partner marketing team today to make sure they are receiving their fair share of the Oracle marketing machine, then participate wholeheartedly in the programmes that we run. Joint campaigns are not about pushing Oracle, they are about generating demand for Oracle partners.

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