Many MSPs and cloud-focused firms, are less reliant on vendors than previously, and are putting much more effort and resources into marketing their own brand and expertise. For many, this means mastering an unfamiliar raft of skills – particularly when it comes to digital marketing.
Vendor benefits from product sales are considered less valuable now by MSPs than the gains to be won by promoting their own brand and expertise, according to the latest CompTIA State of the Channel Survey.
This is a significant finding that signals a changing dynamic in the channel and a move to a business model with much less emphasis on reselling and implementing specific products. The marketing collateral that formerly showcased vendor-partners and highlighted certifications in specific products is being largely replaced now by a marketing pitch that focuses on managed services offered – and your own business’s identity.
Where once, for MSPs, the prime focus was on technical skills, with sales an ‘on-the-job learning process’ and marketing ‘more of an afterthought’, marketing is now at the epicentre of the business model. This means upping your game when it comes to sales and marketing skills – and the message appears to have been taken on board by many MSPs, with a real focus on driving new business sales, rebranding as a service provider and increasing the marketing budget to facilitate this activity.
There is a greater level of confidence among MSPs and other channel partners surveyed too: some 41% respondents to the CompTIA Survey considered their sales and marketing efforts to be ‘highly effective’ and 44% ’moderately effective’. This compares with only 32% responding ‘highly effective’ when asked the same question in the previous State of the Channel study.
Yet marketing challenges remain – and no more so than in the huge area covered by digital marketing.
Mastering the various elements of digital marketing is essential if you want to increase brand awareness, generate sales leads and develop an ongoing customer and prospect dialogue.
Digital marketing offers a great opportunity to promote your managed services business, but also a bewildering array of tools and techniques to take on board – made all the more difficult when you are ‘doing’ marketing alongside your day job.
If you missed our digital marketing blog series first time round, catch up now.
READ OUR EBOOK TO LEARN ABOUT
- Creating a digital strategy
- Email marketing
- Online advertising
- Social media
 CompTIA 6th Annual State of the Channel, October 2016