Build Your Brand: Key Elements of a Marketing Strategy That Get Results
When we talk about building a marketing strategy, we’re not talking about what combination of individual initiatives that you’re going to be using to market your services and solutions. Rather, we’re focusing on what should take place before you begin selecting initiatives when you’re developing your overall marketing strategy.
Your strategy will examine questions like: Who are you marketing to? How can you persevere over your competition? How can you develop a brand that exudes experience and authority? How will you know if your overall strategy is successful? Below are some of the most fundamental elements of a results-driven marketing strategy for managed IT providers.
Research Your Target Audience
To successfully market your services, you have to understand what challenges and obstacles they face and what they need from you to alleviate their pain points. However, being able to fix their problem isn’t enough. You have to connect with them - and to do that, you need to know about them. How much do they rely on IT for business operations? Are they comfortable around technology or still adjusting to using it in their daily lives? Many sales and market strategists make use of buyer personas to answer these types of questions and more.
By the Numbers
Here are a few statistics that show just how beneficial for a marketing strategy is when B2B marketers really understand their target audience and how to market to them.
- Targeting users with content relevant to their position along the buying process yield 72% higher conversion rates.
- 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
- Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
Research Your Competition
When it comes to any type of competitive environment, part of winning involves studying your competition - and marketing your managed IT firm is no exception. Odds are that most of you are already familiar with other MSPs in the area that are offering similar services and targeting similar markets.
Luckily, since the Internet has become a major hub for businesses and marketing, it’s never been easier to learn about your rivals. Gone are the days when you almost had to resort to corporate espionage like calling and pretending to be a prospect to learn what features your competition might offer. Instead, their webpage, Google, social media and other websites can help you construct a pretty complete picture of your competition.
Consider answering these questions when studying your competition.
- What is their competitive advantage (so far as you can tell from their marketing)?
- What stands out to you about them?
- How Do They Approach Marketing?
- What platforms and applications are they using?
- Estimate what their budget is.
Show Them “Why Your MSP”
According to Comptia’s market research, there are almost 268,000 IT service establishments in the United States, employing over 2.2 million people. Each state has an average of 5,360 businesses that offer managed IT services - just like you do.
In fact, when it comes down to it, every MSP has the same two primary goals:
- Provide the best IT services possible for their clients.
- Generate revenue.
Think about it. Most MSPs will offer some type of data backup solution but not all of them have the same features and benefits. You need to determine your MSP’s differentiators, refine your marketing message to include your differentiators and values, and then get that message of distinction out in front of the masses. Show them why you’re different and the best choice to be their IT service provider.
Develop Branding and Use It
When trying to succeed in an extremely competitive vertical, like Managed IT Services, a firm will need to take advantage of every opportunity they have to get in front of their target market. Your logos, colors, website design, social media pages, mission/values, and content are all going to be used by prospects to judge you and your MSP. Uniform, professional branding begins to shape your audience's perception of your company immediately. In fact, B2B brands that visually and functionally connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact than those that don’t.
By the Numbers
For those of you who are still not convinced that your branding is directly related to your success, here are a few statistics to consider.
- 75% of B2B buyers are interested in branded content that helps research business decisions.
- B2B customers are more than 2x as likely to consider a brand that shows personal value over business value because they perceive little difference in the business value between suppliers.
- It takes an average of 5-7 brand impressions before someone will remember your brand.
KPIs, Metrics, and Business Intelligence
In order to get a clear picture of your marketing strategy’s success, you’re going to have to measure it. With hundreds of metrics and KPIs that can be applied to marketing in one way or another, it’s best to establish which metrics you’re going to use and focus on them from the beginning of your strategy all the way through to the end. There are many marketers out there who can tell you firsthand that it’s extremely difficult to backtrack metrics - especially if you and your fellow strategists hadn’t decided what it was you were supposed to be tracking.
Despite having exploded in use over the past year or so, the term business intelligence has been around for a while. Think about it like normal marketing metrics on steroids. For some MSPs, you might already be sitting on a wealth of data to measure. For example, your CRM has all sorts of data about your clients. When you know how to find the data and arrange it in a way that gives insight, business intelligence is more than just a buzzword.
Here’s an example, it’s simple to use your CRM to run a search based on industry/market. From there, you can sort by the ones who provide the most monthly recurring revenue. Combine this data to find out which industries have proven to be the most lucrative for your MSP. Work business intelligence into your marketing strategy and continuously become more efficient with your marketing.
One of the most effective ways to make sure that you’re including these essential building blocks into your marketing strategy is by developing a marketing plan. From your mission statement to your SWOT analysis, a marketing plan can help you strategize, identify strengths and weaknesses and establish goals that are reasonable for your business’ growth. For those of you looking to develop a strategy but still struggle with planning out the essentials, our marketing plan service can help you develop a marketing strategy that gets results. Contact us today at 888-546-4384!