How do you fix bad VAR Websites? (Part 1)

It’s a common complaint: “Our VARs’ websites are a disaster!” The typical problems are:

  1. VAR websites exhibit *low*, *slow* adoption of marketing assets
  2. VAR websites contain *outdated*, *out-of-brand* product content

I could show you several hundred examples of this. VAR websites showing Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 content even though we released Wildfire 5.0 six months ago… VAR websites promoting a free trial program that we discontinued 12 month ago… VAR websites promoting “MathCAD” even though the appropriate product branding is “Mathcad”… It goes on and on. I would estimate that 1% of our VAR websites have strong product marketing info and compelling up-to-date marketing programs.

How do you fix it?
Really the only tools I have had to utilize (until now) are a combination of nagging, and awarding/withholding MDF (Marketing Development Funds):

  • Nag each VAR to add new marketing programs to their website every time a new program or asset is rolled out.
  • Nag each VAR every time a product is rev’ed. References to version numbers need to be changed; linked product documentation needs to be changed; and new functionality and positioning needs to be documented and promoted.
  • Award a VAR MDF funds to hire a web consultant to make the updates
  • Withhold MDF funds from a VAR until they get their website updated with appropriate content

These solutions are terrible. Nobody likes to be a nag, including me. The VARs simply have too much stuff on their plate, so website maintenance (and indeed many other marketing tasks) tend to fall off the edge and get neglected. And most VARs do not have dedicated, well-trained marketing headcount that can take care of projects like this.

Also, these efforts are all one-off. After nagging, cajoling, and bribing one VAR to get their website updated, you need to turn around and do it all over again for the several hundred other VARs who are exhibiting problems. And then 6 months later you need to go back to that same VAR and do it all over again.

Yesterday I kicked off a project with a company called SharedVue which I believe will solve this problem. Stay tuned to this space to learn more about it.

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About Bob Hebeisen

My name is Bob Hebeisen and I'm a Boston-based Marketing Director, currently seeking new full-time and contract opportunities. I formerly held Field Marketing and Channel Marketing roles at PTC and SDL, and have spent most of my 20-year career in Business-to-Business (B2B) technology marketing. Follow me at http://twitter.com/bobhebeisen
This entry was posted in SharedVue, VAR Marketing Techniques, Web Content Syndication, Website Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How do you fix bad VAR Websites? (Part 1)

  1. Josh Gibbs says:

    Completly agree with your approach to enabeling VARs. It is almost impossible to push them to taking action on things like changing web content or promoting campaigns…like pulling teeth. And once they do, they have to do it again. Time and resources are killed by that point (espeically for smaller VARs).

    Like

  2. Bob Hebeisen says:

    Josh, thanks for your comment. I was talking to one of my best VARs yesterday and he had read this blog post and he said to me: “pretty harsh.” Don't get me wrong, the VARs have good intentions. They are just pulled in a million different directions (by me, by our sales management, etc.) and website maintenance just does not make it to the top of their priority list.

    Like

  3. Pingback: How do you fix bad VAR Websites? (Part 2) « b2bhebeisen

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