Chip giants level huge investment at UK channel

Intel, AMD and Nvidia to pour megabucks into the UK channel through targeted campaigns
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The three companies which together produce the beating heart of almost every PC in the world are planning to inject more money into the channel to help retailers and resellers across the UK adapt to changing market conditions.

With new channel initiatives such as the Flex+ scheme (which offers customers cumulative incentives in a similar way to Air Miles) launched last month, Intel told PC Retail that there's going to be much more investment in the future, and that it wants to do what it can to make sure channel players remain firmly in the game.

"In the last two and a half years you've seen a fair bit of consolidation in the UK market," said Intel's UK and Ireland channel sales manager Gerald Grattoni. "I think the channel landscape is changing, and the market and the demand and needs are also evolving. And we want to make sure that the channel remains competitive. The channel players are very good with the transition of technology; they are very flexible companies. We will continue investing in them, as they are a key part of our business."

Admitting it hasn't been as consistent in its channel focus in recent times as it could have been, AMD revealed it also has plans to amplify and better target its spend this year with initiatives such as the online support portal Business Centre:

"We're trying to actually communicate with people on a more personal level, and we're trying to do it in a way which actually engages with them rather than beating them across the brow with too much hard selling," said marketing director for EMEA Richard Baker.

"We're certainly investing more money in channel marketing programmes as well, throughout all our product lines. You'll see a much greater investment there. And we will also be going much further down the channel than we have before. We've always been good friends with the channel; we were a little erratic, to put it politely, last year but I think we're back on track."

Meanwhile, Nvidia has taken the wraps off its own Partner Force Rewards program, which goes for a much more direct approach by literally giving resellers and retailers a cash-loaded debit card to use.

"We're moving some of the spend down the channel, which will have more of an impact on resellers," said Nvidia channel marketing manager Chris Ayres.

"There will be a debit card that a reseller will have in the name of the company, and money will be approved to that card, which they can go out and spend. We're going to put the spend right in their hands. We think this is very exciting. It's going to be a pilot at first, rolling out in the UK, Germany and France. Assuming that it takes off we'll move it to a larger base of resellers."

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