Managed services marketing remains a challenge for many channel companies, but the case of DynTek Inc., a professional technology services provider based in Irvine, Calif., sheds some light on how companies can succeed.
DynTek won McAfee's Marketing Innovation Partner of the Year award for 2018. The endorsement from the $2 billion-plus cybersecurity company begs the question: What innovative marketing practices did DynTek deploy?
According to Ken McCray, McAfee's head of channel sales and operations for the Americas, DynTek won the prize because it met McAfee's criteria as a partner that:
- executes exemplary or unique marketing strategies that align with McAfee's corporate strategy;
- uses integrated marketing campaigns; and
- reports a 10-15 time higher return on investment.
Executive briefings: Innovation or old hat?
Executive briefings as an innovative managed services marketing tool doesn't impress PartnerPath's Krakora.
Krakora noted that in the 1980s and 1990s, the primary marketing strategy was to bring together groups of executives to roundtable briefings, but in today's marketing environment, channel partners, vendors and customers collaborate using mobile apps, social media tools and other technologies that make long-distance teamwork easier, quicker and more convenient.
In addition, technology that broadcasts marketing messages to the right decision-makers has matured.
As for specific managed services marketing approaches, DynTek and McAfee worked to deliver executive briefings to clients throughout the year. Those briefings addressed current and future security threats and product roadmaps that address customer challenges.
In the executive briefings, DynTek took a multi-pronged approach that included integrated campaigns, targeted industry reports, demos, proofs of concept, and extensive questions and answers, McCray explained. That technique helped make the executive briefings beneficial to both customers and McAfee.
For instance, DynTek promoted events to its customers and within McAfee market segments and encouraged its sales teams in multiple verticals to promote events, as well as utilizing email and social media to market to prospective attendees, McCray said.
"Our events focus on enabling our clients to experience the technology and learn and interact with their peers," said Ron Ben-Yishay, CEO at DynTek.
A transformative message
Linda Ford, vice president of marketing at DynTek, said a key part of the company's marketing strategy is demonstrating to clients how the technology can transform and improve their business processes.
"Within our own marketing efforts, we keep innovation and transformation at the heart of our content and messaging," Ford said. "We start with an understanding of the key business issue, deliver campaigns digitally and on premises, and focus on creating real business outcomes for our clients."
DynTek executives said the company's marketing focus revolves around an integrated strategy that incorporates both digital and traditional marketing methods.
In recent years, the company has ramped up its digital marketing strategy. For example, DynTek has engaged HubSpot to help manage the company's digital marketing strategy, as well as publishing a digital magazine and other content pieces to provide educational information about DynTek to clients and industry contacts. Additionally, the company monitors a prospect's digital behavior to help deliver interesting content.
A digital marketing plan is a must-have component of an innovative marketing strategy, said Diane Krakora, CEO at PartnerPath, a partnering development firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. Such a plan, to be taken seriously, must use tools such as online videos, search engines, social media posts, updated websites, blogs, webinars and email to communicate the company's message, she said.
Managed services marketing: Emphasize business value
IT solutions providers are finding their footing in a technology era offering a cloud based-subscription model, where customers are exploring new ways to take advantage of developments such as AI, blockchain, IoT and edge computing, Krakora said. Against that backdrop, channel companies must convey to customers their ability to create IT solutions that address their business problems, as opposed to pushing point products.
"Being technically savvy is not going to be enough in 2019 and 2020 because customers can find out everything about a technology with a 30-minute Google search," Krakora said.
She noted that customers are looking for solutions such as disaster recovery or business continuity. IT service providers must create content that highlights their consulting skills and successful implementation projects, as well as vertical and horizontal market expertise.
"The new go-to-market push has to involve conveying to customers how hardware, software and services bundled together in a solution ... is going to meet a need. That will change the solution provider's value proposition," Krakora said.