Smart Channel Partner Formation and Collaboration: Online Tools

An innovative tool for channel experts is online and free. Check out and take the tour to get a feel for how it will start making life easier for channel leaders in any sector. What I like about it most: collaboration tools and tailored partner management solutions. Overall, just a great, well thought-out way to address channel leadership challenges.

When companies like Cisco are relying upon their channels for up to 80% of their revenues, you know it’s time you took a closer look at how you’re running channels now. Here’s one great online tool.

Commerce Department’s EDA Grants Help Exporters Rebuild, Retool

An announcement by the Department of Commerce on June 18th detailed the release of eight grants for the Gulf region totaling $10.27 million – most for economic development planning and coastal management – to be disbursed by the Commerce Department, including its Economic Development Administration (EDA) group. EDA’s portion to be disbursed totals about $1.8 million, and will aid economic development agencies in the region to provide capital support to small businesses recover and rebuild.

A longstanding DOC program, EDA is active in communities throughout the nation, consistently providing paths to success in global trade for companies within regions that are deemed to be economically disadvantaged as a result of international competition or unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. The typical route to companies in need is via area economic development councils.

EDA’s different investment programs include Public Works and Economic Development, Economic Adjustment Assistance, Research and National Technical Assistance, Local Technical Assistance, Planning Program, University Center Economic Development, and Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms. There’s a great blog at the Department of Commerce site, with a news-feed format that will illustrate how busy the program is. Read here.

If you administer an economic development corporation or economic trade zone, or if you’re a business with proof of disadvantage due to international competitive pressures, learn how the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) might help level the playing field.

U.S., Mexico CEOs Partner to Fix Border, Build Business

A new development in US-Mexico trade has caught my eye, because it’s driven by and for C-level business owners, through the US Chamber of Commerce. And it’s likely to build bridges of trade between the two nations that will overcome many of the short-term obstacles to success — immigration, transport, and security problems — in ways that no federal mandate could do.

The goal of Leadership Initiative Vision 2020 is “to make our border work; make both countries more competitive in global markets; promote the continent’s energy independence while respecting our shared environment; raise living standards for our citizens; and enhance inter-governmental cooperation; all within a framework that fully respects and supports national sovereignty and interests.”

Tall order. But when CEOs of growing global companies are all seated at the same table and you serve up some legit, profitable deals, those deals will be carved up and invoiced before dessert. I give high marks to our chambers and officials for turning this program loose. While you do see mention of “high level dialog” taking place, potentially sucking time and effort away from the work world; you also see mention of “working groups” that will shift the Chamber’s plan “from policy aspiration to reality”. The chamber and its members are focused on clearing paths to sustainable business relationships, through hard work, so my sense is the “working groups” will prevail!

Read more about the US Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to build relevant, sustainable trade revenue between the US and Mexico at their website.

Branded Program Webinar: Affordably-built Export Strategies

Publicly-funded Branded Programs assist qualifying companies that are ready to export internationally disbursing matching marketing federal funds for advertising, international trade shows, in-store demos and other eligible promotional expenses.

Federally funded Market Access Programs (MAP) are tailor-made for agricultural and other product providers. If you or anyone within your circle of excellence is actively engaged in these areas, I highly recommend you reach out to your local department of commerce and department of agriculture offices for more information.

Ignite Exports Seminar Wrap-Up

Last Thursday, I presented a series of market-building presentations to current and prospective exporters, during World Trade Center San Diego’s Ignite Exports Seminar. The many and diverse projects that Hanson Marketing has completed for clients in both consumer and b-2-b sectors provided plenty of relevant, timely case studies on which to base my presentation.

Opening speakers set a tone of both urgency and opportunity for US exporters by introducing our National Export Initiative and by spotlighting global issues such as tariffs and embargoes, trade with China, and export control regulations. My co-presenters and I started out the all-day learning session with real-world examples of how we guide our clients in developing strategic, export-driven revenue flow (Hanson Marketing’s Pre-Flight Checklist came in handy). By first conducting detailed, inclusive exercises, studies and analysis; and following up with identifying and assessing new markets, export companies lay a smooth path toward productive global markets.

Next, we delved into Intellectual Property and Licensing structures and how to form and lead best-in-class channel partnerships (our tried-and-true Channel Matrix was the basis for this discussion), wherein I gave a crash course on solutions-based and consultative selling techniques. A colleague from Ex-Im Bank led the audience through a great overview of how their programs create competitive advantage.

Afternoon sessions covered how to master complex issues such as managing channel performance and how to ensure that company departments all collaborate toward successful exports. The audience learned about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and how to guard against infractions and violations when exporting “dual use” (i.e., military and civilian) goods. The path toward earning new, export revenue is made smoother through plenty of financial, educational and regulatory resources.

Early feedback indicates that attendees at this Ignite Exports event came out better prepared and more informed. We look forward to advising some of these companies in the near future!

Sports Marketing: Shiny & Loud, Please.

The success of any Olympic Games is said to be inversely related to the popularity of its official mascot (“awesome games, but what’s with the scary plush toys?). Hence, we can expect London’s 2012 Games to be a rollicking success. Get ready for…

Wenlock & Mandeville: London '12 Calling

A recent article in “Fast Company” takes an entertaining look at hits and head-scratchers.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola’s taken on its largest-ever global campaign around World Cup. Vuvuzelas, the noisy plastic horns that join to sound like a swarm of Killer Bees, feature prominently, along with a peace sign and a Rolling Stones-ish, Peter Max-ish mouth. Better yet, the map of Africa which accompanies the exploding burst of football elements, can be tailored to each participating nations’ colors… an over-arching identity that allows for a national twist, via Coke’s own Design Machine, a software program that allows for local tweaking of a global program.

Clash of visual flavors, yet oddly satisfying: like Coca-Cola...

Consistency, efficiency, brand integrity, impact – nicely done, Coke. Read more at Fast Company.

World Cup: Thrills and Heartbreak… and Mystery

Can You Spot North Korea's Fan?

Thrills: The news from every country about upcoming World Cup competition is the best way to appreciate the drama, pride and oddities of each team and their fan base. It’s not often that we, as a global village, get to mix it up in a shared world event. I read the news from Global Post, an online source with daily contributions from more than 65 correspondents in nearly 50 countries, on all topics that matter to our Global Village. Like Soccer/Football!

Heartbreak: Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba broke his arm this week in a friendly vs. Japan. Can the 32-year-old Chelsea striker get patched and sewn up quickly enough? He was whisked from the pitch directly to Sweden, where, we hope, medical miracles will happen in time.

Mystery: The global hype machine has overlooked one country, it appears. Where is the Coca-Cola merchandising deal for North Korea? News out of Pyongyang indicates the North Korean National Team is importing a “fans volunteer army” to cheer them on, comprised of Chinese entertainers. And, nobody knows if they’ve lined up an official jersey yet. Will they hit the pitch wearing tie-dyed Tees, stenciled with a sanctioned image of Dear Leader?

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