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Why Microsoft 'Ready-to-Go' Is Worth a New Look (Part 1)

If you have been a Microsoft partner for more than a year, you may not have had a very good experience with Microsoft's Ready-to-Go (RTG) marketing materials program. In fact, the only reason to bring up the less-than-stellar history of the well-intentioned RTG is to contrast it with its newest incarnation, which has become a great resource. If you haven't visited RTG in the past couple of months, here's what you've missed:

Organization Designed with Partner Input
Sally Ann Frank Phillips, director of marketing for Charlotte, N.C.-based Mariner, participated in the focus groups that helped shape the RTG site's redesign. Over the past two years, partner marketers were given the opportunity to test the user interface and give feedback and ideas on how to best structure the system.  

"We told them how we preferred to search," Phillips said. "Then we were asked to come back and review the changes that they made. RTG is leaps and bounds ahead of what it used to be."

She added, "The evolution of RTG has been dramatic. Seeing the implementation of some of the suggestions that I and other marketing professionals made has been a great thing. Partners will be pleasantly surprised." 

RTG Site Organization
The new Ready-to-Go site is divided into four resource sections and a community site. As Phillips noted, "It makes a huge difference to have everything organized by workload." The sections are as follows:

  • Campaigns: A very rich source of content, from landing page copy to whitepapers to presentations. Resources to support marketing campaigns from nurture to events are searchable by product, target market, solution or vertical. These materials provide a great base to add your unique message with a professional look.
  • Events: The Web-based event management, including registration management, is not completely transformed from its former self. Some partners balk at using this service since prospects must register using a Windows Live ID. On the positive side, campaign materials are linked to the event process and can really save time for the partners with limited marketing resources.
  • Services: The number of vendors included in the services offering has been narrowed significantly. The current vendors have been vetted to ensure partner value for lead generation, writing, digital marketing, event planning and printing services. More on these services in my future posts.
  • Syndication: Another big improvement is the syndicated content offerings that help keep your Web site fresh.  From product and cloud banner ads to business article widgets, this content will give your Web site both visual and SEO lift.

Phillips said, "Sometimes partners, myself included, get fatigued because there is so much information coming from Microsoft and it can be a bit scattered. This iteration of RTG is the antithesis. Everything is in one location."

Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at how partners are using the components of RTG to save time and build business. Leave a comment below or let me know if you have found a unique use for RTG materials.

Posted by Barb Levisay on August 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM


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