Storage company Seagate Technology is acting like an operating system vendor or peripheral vendor by providing marketing messages and materials to solution providers and system builders.
Seagate, of Scotts Valley, Calif., is creating a series of sales and marketing tools and campaign materials around how its solutions integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Vista, in the hopes that solution providers and system builders will use those messages to drive sales of its storage products when selling their customers Vista-enabled PCs.
"Traditional disk drive support is pretty data-centric, so we stepped back and decided to provide a different level of tools, more like what they are used to getting from other vendors like Intel and Microsoft," said Pete Steege, senior marketing manager at Seagate.
The result was two sets of tools. The first, which Seagate calls readiness tools, includes a solutions guide that outlines the opportunity of storage with Vista; which Seagate technology maps best to each Vista version; which drives to recommend depending on how customers plan to use their Vista-based solution and what capacity they need; ways to upsell or cross-sell; and educational material about solution enablement.
The second set of tools is focused on marketing. It includes several customizable tools solution providers and system builders can use to market their own offerings and affix to their own brand, such as Web banners they can use to draw customers to offers on their Web sites and customizable e-mail templates designed to appeal to specific market segments.
"Were helping them communicate to their customers that their Vista solution can really sing with the right storage as part of it. Its about getting the right messages to the right customers," Steege said. "If its a home customer, its about being able to achieve the digital life you want and get what you expect out of the Vista solution with the right storage, and if its a business, its about getting more out of your investment and getting your employees to be more productive."
The approach makes a great deal of sense, especially for smaller companies looking for solutions that are integrated and dont require a lot of customization and upfront consulting, said Tiffani Bovi, an analyst with Gartner.
"They are telling their solution providers that the value of their information from a security and storage perspective is very important, and they are looking for something that is already packaged, tested, bundled and certified—anything that makes it easier for them," she said.
Click here to read more about how Seagate and Microsoft are promoting storage products.
Its a great boon for solution providers as well, she said. Its a particularly good way for solution providers to re-enter accounts they already have for additional attachment. If they already upgraded an account to Vista, for example, they can now come back with a Vista-enabled storage solution. If the customer hasnt upgraded to Vista yet, the solution provider can approach them with an integrated solution that will convince them that now is the time to upgrade to Vista, because this solution can address pain points like disaster recovery or backup data integrity.
"The channel is always looking for things that allow them to become more sticky and sell more things into existing accounts, because that is where the majority of their business comes from," Bovi said. "They are always looking for a re-entry point."
This approach to selling storage is something Seagate—and the entire storage industry, for that matter—has never tried before, but the time is right, Steege said.
"There wasnt a place for this before, when storage didnt have a lot of solution value. But with the value of content now actually surpassing PC value, there is a place for solution providers to leverage that component," he said.
Seagate executives are so confident of the approach, in fact, that they have already developed other operating system-agnostic campaigns for solution providers as well. One set of tools targets the small-office and home-office customer, while the other targets the small-business customer. The campaigns, with a similarly rich set of tools and marketing materials, targets the business problems they are facing and how storage can help.
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