NEW YORK: Ketchum has partnered with International Data (IDC) to launch ChannelEdge, helping technology companies develop strategies for working with sales partners.
The "channel refers to indirect sales outlets, such as Circuit City for a computer firm. IDC, a tech intelligence company, has predicted that in 2003 the channel category will generate 40%-60% of $1.1 trillion in tech sales. But problems with channel relationships are prevalent, including uneven communications and outdated programs. Channel conflict has been increasingly reported in the media, including the San Jose Mercury News and USA Today, as well as tech trade titles. "As tech companies try to sell their way out of this slump, they are relying on the channel more, said Paul Rand, director of Ketchum's global tech practice. "A company not serving its channel well will be thrown back in the marketplace." This is the first time IDC has formed a strategic alliance with a PR firm. "We know from our work with our clients that sometimes the best plans go astray if they're not communicated properly, said Stephen Graham, IDC's group VP, global software partnering and alliances. "Working with Ketchum helps us understand what things we can do better to mesh with communications needs in delivering research information, and developing strategies, Graham said. Ketchum may eventually bring the channel strategy to other practice areas. Ray Kotcher, CEO, said he has challenged all his teams to innovate. "I think you are seeing a lot of people who have more aversion to risk than they have had in the past, he said. "That's a dangerous place to be. What used to work may not work anymore in this environment of unpredictability."