I'm hearing a familiar theme from multiple managed service providers: MSPs want to strengthen their branding and marketing efforts, yet local advertising firms and marketing consultants don't understand the IT industry. As a result, local consultants who specialize in marketing aren't very good at shaping an MSP's brand.
So, what's an MSP to do? Here are two options.
If you've got some in-house marketing expertise, keep your money in your wallet and go find some vendor dollars to fund some of your promotional activities. In this scenario, you already have a clear vision for your company. You just need some money to help tell the story.
Consider the situation over at masterIT. I mention this company, run by CEO J. Michael Drake, frequently on MSPmentor because masterIT truly understands the branding process.
With an assist from vendor funding, masterIT recently developed two new videos that are now hosted on YouTube.
Video 1 (below) is client-facing, and describes how masterIT assists customers with security and business protection
Video 2 (below) is industry facing, and masterIT is positioned as an expert organization that endorses Seagate's EVault remote backup solution.
By now, you've noticed that masterIT is successfully leveraging someone else's money to tell the company's story. But the strategy doesn't end there. Recently, masterIT sent the client-facing video in an email to customer prospects. According to Drake, the email is a precursor to an October 30 event for C-level executives. MasterIT is hosting at the FedEx Institute of Technology for C-level executives in our market.
Option 2: Have Money, Find Expert Help
Another branding option is to pay somebody within the MSP industry to help develop and polish your logo, your messaging and your overall company position.
In this scenario, some MSPs are turning to Ingram Micro's Channel Marketing Services team for help. Ingram launched the team in 2006 to help VARs and MSPs (in the US) tackle their channel marketing needs.
During the recent Ingram Micro Seismic partner conference in Chicago, I heard from several MSPs that leverage Ingram for Web design services, logo and brand development, event management and several other key services.
Later this week, I'll describe how one specific MSP recently overhauled its corporate brand, with an assist from Ingram.
Of course, many MSPs reading this suffer from marketing inertia. They know they need to bolster their messaging, but they aren't quite ready to open their wallets. That's a big mistake, because I believe marketing will make-or-break many MSPs.