Five Reasons to Leverage White Label Solutions

white-label-vendorHere’s why you want to white label, when it’s an option:

  1. Speed to market
  2. Maintain control of your customers, pricing and deals
  3. Build your brand, not your vendor’s
  4. Create a cohesive customer story and messaging
  5. Leverage your vendor’s expertise rather than making additional investments to develop in-house.

If it turns out to be a big success, you always have the option to build it yourself and migrate your clients over. This way, you’re always in the driver’s seat.

We are good at core apps, but archiving felt like an area where specialization would be powerful and finding an expert partner would be to everyone’s benefit. They could give us the depth and expertise in an important niche.

The solution works so well that we don’t have dedicated staff from a support or engineering perspective. We’re able to manage it without much trouble through existing technical folks who handle email routing and with the general support. It doesn’t take too much effort on our part, and it keeps scaling and scaling,

— Kirk Averett, senior director of sales and marketing at Rackspace.

Source: Why Rackspace chose to white-label cloud archiving services

Why Content Curation is Perfect for IT Resellers

var-content-curationWe speak to VARs everyday and consistently, they tell us that one of their top marketing challenges is web content creation—particularly, keeping up with blog posts.

If you’ve researched content marketing or inbound marketing at all, you have probably come to the conclusion that blogging regularly is critical to appease the search engine gods, encourage social media interactions, increase web visitor engagement and ultimately uncover new sales opportunities. And you’d be right!
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MSP Customers Speak Out—”We want innovation!”

msp-innovationAccording to CompTIA’s new “Enabling SMBs with Technology” study, most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) demand innovative technology partners. The lack of which being a primary reason you may be losing clients to your competitors.

“For an MSP to be innovative, it must focus on business results at a broad scale and proactively determine the best technology solution,” Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s senior director of technology analysis.

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Six Reasons Why Your Customer Case Studies Fail at Selling

whatsstorySuccess stories (or case studies) are effective to use as social proof (one of James Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence) and reinforcement late in the buying cycle once a customer has already formed a buying vision that fully recognizes what and why.

Of course, nothing moves forward until you have B.A.N.T., so don’t forget that! Read More →

Survey: 48.6% of Digital Marketers Admit Incompetence

According to a survey by Smart Insights, 48.6% of marketing respondents answered, “I need to improve my depth of knowledge,” across seven key digital marketing areas, on average:

DisciplinesNeeds improvement
Social media marketing47%
Search engine marketing (SEO and PPC)51%
Public Relations (PR)39%
Digital strategy53%
Design (web, mobile, multichannel)42%
CRM and big data58%
Content marketing50%
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Whats the best social media strategy? [infographic]

social-media-strategy-methodology

BuzzStream and Fractl have collaborated to research the content keywords, social platforms, influencers/amplifiers, and publishing dates that can have the most impact on your plan for social traction in 2015.

Using BuzzSumo, [they] analyzed 220,000 pieces of content from 10 high-engagement and 10 low-engagement publishers in 11 industry verticals. The result is a picture of the broad trends and vertical-specific nuances that can improve your social media strategy.

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5 Fundamentals for Marketing Success

5-fundamentals-for-marketing-successDuring my morning quiet time when I read through my Feedly articles I came across this short, but sweet article from Entrepreneur.com: 5 Fundamentals Successful Entrepreneurs Build Into Their Strategy.

Although seemingly pedestrian, the 5 fundamentals felt all too familiar to me when I realized that I have been following this advice for a long time. Not just when starting new businesses, but also when starting a significant initiative within a business.

Hasn’t every new major business initiative been like starting a new mini-business?

I don’t think you’ll find this a stretch.  If your IT Reseller business has been around for a while, you likely started with break-fix solutions or consulting projects. What was it like when you first entered into managed services or took on a new proficiency like cloud? I remember these milestones from my own VAR experiences.

You needed a dedicated business plan for it, didn’t you? You had to figure out the partnerships, offerings, pricing, technology, integration, personnel, operations and go-to-market. And we all know it doesn’t end at “figuring out” because as you execute you’ll surely have to revisit each multiple times. Read More →

Marketing 101 from Ingram Micro

marketing-101IT manufacturers and distributors are speaking out more and more about the importance of a structured marketing program for VARs and IT resellers.

Here are the key points from a recent Ingram Micro interview with ChannelPro:

  • A plan is as simple as four things. It’s what, who, how, and when. (VCM agrees and it all starts with WHY?)
  • Define your targets within your audience/influence
  • Find out where your target is learning online and focus your marketing there
  • Hold yourself accountable to a timeline
  • It’s critical to brand and differentiate your expertise—don’t “race to the bottom of a price”
  • The majority of SMBs do NOT use price as their first criterion—relationship comes FIRST
  • Don’t try to be all things to all people. To be an expert, limit what you talk about.
  • Keep it simple and just focus on your customers, decision makers, and influencers.
  • It’s not an option to say you don’t have time. Hire an agency like VAR Channel Marketing!
  • Marketing doesn’t happen as a one off. You have to consistently market.
  • Start with your website and perfect your brand messaging there. Make sure it’s clear.
  • VARs seem obsessed with lead generation, but content and the four W’s must come first.
    • VCM customers that invest the time to develop who, what, why and take a holistic, authentic and consistent approach to marketing have the best results by far! Marketing in a vacuum simply does not work.

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Will you follow large business marketing technology like you do IT?

Mayur-Gupta-Kimberly-ClarkWhether you service SMB or large business, I think we can agree that your solutions should be enterprise-class, although not priced for the enterprise if you’re servicing SMB, of course— but that’s a discussion for another day.

But why enterprise-class solutions? In my experience, it’s because SMB and mid-market companies strive to have the same capability and functionality of large business. Where did VPN start? Where did VDI start? Where did mobility start? These solutions started at the top and dripped down just like a lot of the technologies we consider “standard” today.

Here’s what’s going on. Large business and even mid-market companies are realizing the need to converge (at least a portion of) IT and Marketing. Why? Because marketing today means using technology and data—period. It’s far less about sales copy, graphics and hand-outs, although those things have their place.

It’s about prospect and customer data and the tools and systems to act on that data with the right message at the right time. In addition, it’s about integrating that marketing data with sales operations, i.e. your CRM. The good news is that this trend is driving down the cost of entry for Marketing Operations and Marketing Automation.

The question is, will you embrace and take advantage of this movement before your competitors do?

The line between marketing and IT is increasingly becoming blurred in many organizations, at least in respect to marketing operations and technology.

A Fortune 500 example of such a transformation comes from  Mayur Gupta, Global Head of Marketing Technology & Innovation for Kimberly-Clark.  As the marketing technology leader for a 22 billion dollar manufacturer of paper products, Gupta sits at the intersection between marketing and technology. Read More →

A LinkedIn discussion about Marketing Automation for VARs

linkedin-discussionI’m participating on a great LinkedIn Group discussion and I thought I’d share one of my comments:

Great feedback everyone! I was the Director of Marketing for a regional VAR, UltraLevel Inc., and spent a lot of time researching CRM and Marketing Automation.

After we developed a winning formula, the owner of UltraLevel and I started VAR Channel Marketing to share our solutions with non-competing VARs, similar to the Connectwise story.

We did conclude that CW was the best choice if you’re going to leverage the PSA module, especially if you’re an MSP using N-able, Keysea or one of the other compatible platforms.

We started off using Constant Contact for email, but soon needed far more powerful segmentation to better target live event invitations, registrations and follow ups. Read More →