MSPs: Got a Marketing Plan for 2011?

MSPs: Got a Marketing Plan for 2011?

Consuro, a managed services provider in North Texas, has hired Tina Stovall as marketing director. That bit of news got me wondering: Are MSPs preparing marketing moves from 2011? And if so, how will the best MSPs promote themselves across social media, broadcast and print platforms? I've got a few educated hunches.

Let's start with the situation at Consuro. The company says Stovall will lead marketing efforts across a variety of platforms, including print, broadcast, and interactive. She's a 15-year veteran of advertising and PR, having worked with a range of consumer and corporate brands -- everything from Subaru of America to Nationwide Insurance, Hollywood Theaters, Justin Boots, Alcon Laboratories and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Worth. In a prepared statement, Consuro Co-president Kevin Valadez says building the Consuro brand is "a high priority for us" and will include targeted marketing efforts.

Interestingly, print marketing apparently is included in the effort. It reinforces the point: Efforts like direct mail and newspaper promotions can still attract a targeted crowd, even in the age of online advertising and social media.

Will other MSPs follow Cosuro's lead? No doubt, scores of MSPs are mulling Google Adword campaigns, using targeted keyword efforts within specific geographies. Others are turning to online marketing tools like Kutenda. Still others are gathering at MSP-centric marketing and lead generation events hosted by MSP University and Robin Robins' Technology Marketing Toolkit.

Still, I sense that most MSPs remain painfully silent on the marketing and PR fronts. Generally speaking, MSPmentor recommends that MSPs create a consistent drumbeat for 2011. A corporate blog, launched on a free platform like WordPress, is a great way to start. Instead of trying to create tons of content start with one weekly update within a four-week plan.

  • Week One: Focus your blog entry on a special monthly offer -- something that's good only that month and has an expiration date. Perhaps a 30 days of free monitoring to help you assess new customers' long-term IT needs.
  • Week Two: Focus on a recent customer win. Even if you can't disclose the customer's name, describe their vertical market and business needs to your readers. Then, describe the solutions you offered.
  • Week Three: Focus on personnel milestones. Perhaps a new or recent hire, or recent executive promotion.
  • Week Four: Focus on business milestones. Perhaps new corporate certifications, new partnerships or a tipping point (number of customers management, number of desktops under management, etc.).
  • Week Five: Just jump back to Week One and repeat the process.
I realize a corporate blog is NOT a corporate marketing or PR plan. You need to make sure your logo, your brand and your market focus are in sync. But writing about your company regularly can help you discover brand identities and marketing opportunities that you may have otherwise overlooked.

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