The idea of resellers giving away free consultancy advice to customers emerged as one of the responses during the recession to secure loyalty but has emerged as a marketing strategy.
Last year Logicalis talked of 'freeconomics' and the need to provide a degree of consultancy for free to ensure that resellers gained a better relationship with the customer that would last beyond the recession.
The editor of Wired Chris Anderson published a book 'Free' that detailed the emerging economic model that relied on giving away services and according to Gartner Thought Leadership Marketing (TLM) is here to stay.
"The principle of TLM is simple enough., You give away a little valuable intellectual property to establish your potential usefulness to the client, in the expectation that the client will use your expertise and services," said Rolf Jester, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Gartner highlighted the activities in other industries where TLM is being by consulting firms, accounting for around 20% of their marketing expenditure, it seems that only a handful of players, including IBM, Capgemini and Deloitte, have been using the technique in the IT market.