If your firm is a reseller, disti or integrator, i.e. you’re part of the channel, you will probably know that it can be really tough working with large vendors to produce and pitch customer references to the media.
Vendors, you can be tough to work with!
They steal the limelight, right? Take your hard earned customer stories for their own and turn them into platforms for xyz vendor to promote their own messages?! I’m always keen to spread my finger pointing equally; vendors, I’m almost certain feel (and are probably right) that smaller companies in the channel do not have the resources to promote a story effectively (hence they like to own joint media opportunities) and perhaps don’t rate PR agencies appointed by smaller channel firms.
Channel firms, you don’t always have enough time / resources / support to do a customer reference justice!
What’s the answer here? Fight it out and see who can get a press release out (to the same media) quickest, accept the vendor will always win or vice versus, let the reseller do what they want?? Nah.
Firstly, all parties need to get together and have a frank discussion about resource. If your firm does not have time/ resource / a supporting agency to help with PR, get one sharpish or accept you need to rely on your vendor partner for help.
Second, if you do have resource / time / agency support then its time to agree one basic principle, if your firm won the deal, its your story to promote. Offer your vendor partner the opportunity to contribute. If the vendor won the deal (and sub’d it to you), it is their story to promote – request a mention in the release or a quote.
Whoever owns the release, discuss pitching strategy, offer to help each other. Divide up media contacts – you (and they) can’t know everyone. They’ll know some journalists better than you and vice versus.
Help secure spokespeople, provide photos, etc. to support interviews with the media (irrespective of who set up the interview).
Remember to scan and share press coverage with everyone involved.
Lastly, work really hard at working together. It might take time and, along the way, you might tread on each others toes, but working together (not against each other) will be more beneficial for the customer, media and for yourselves.