“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Variations of this quotation have been attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford and other revolutionaries in our history. I’m not sure if anyone really knows who coined the phrase…but I don’t think anyone would contest its truthfulness. Planning and success go together like PB&J. And although we are fairly comfortable in planning our business meetings, sales pitches and supporting data I’m willing to bet that most managed service providers do not sit down and plan a marketing strategy.
According to the latest MSP Partners/Institute for Partner Education and Development (IPED) research, top MSPs who incorporate a marketing strategy into their business plan are getting real results. I’d like to share with you some highlights on our research into the importance of Managed Services Marketing.
Marketing Is Important!It’s true. MSP Partners/IPED's 2008 and 2009 research shows that Best-In-Class MSPs (the really successful ones) spend 86% more on marketing activities than your average IT Solution Provider. Best-In-Class MSPs believe so strongly in effective marketing that 2/3 of them list having a marketing person on staff as critical to their success in the market. Clearly there is a “marketing component” to a successful Managed Services business model.
Success Requires InvestmentThat’s right, you get out what you put in. No silver bullets here. Our numbers show that Best-In-Class MSPs invest significantly in their marketing activities. In fact, these top MSPs invest roughly 11.2% of their total revenue back into marketing (people and activities) compared to 6% by an average SP. I should note that simply throwing money into marketing activities isn’t going to bring about success, and that a good ROI on your marketing spend means sitting down and blocking out some time to sincerely consider your goals.
Your Brand IS Your Value PropositionThink of a well-known organization with an established brand. You can probably infer what sort of value proposition they bring to the table. Now think of your customers (and prospective customers). Could they instantly call to mind the value proposition you offer? Too many times we get stuck in the trap of “broadening” or “thinning” our company brand. Our research shows that creating one consistent, fundamental version of your brand will yield far better results than a “jack of all trades” approach. Build one core message into your value proposition, and ensure that every single person in your company knows it – from the CEO down to the guy dedicated to print servers.
You can learn lots more about best in class MSP marketing strategies and many other important managed services topics through our IPED best practices courses at www.msppartners.com.
Andrew Pohran is program director at MSP Partners. Follow MSPmentor via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; and Twitter. And sign up for our Enewsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center.