Every marketer today is faced with the challenge of creating good content day in and day out. Coming up with new ideas and interesting ways to present information can feel pretty overwhelming on some of those days. That's when it's time to start mining Microsoft's Ready-to-Go (RtG) marketing site.
Through steady improvement over the past several years, RtG has become a marketing content goldmine for partners. Some of the nuggets take a little more digging than others, but we've collected a few worth sharing:
- Notes in campaign PowerPoints. In most of the campaign sales presentation decks, there are speakers' notes in the first few slides. The notes are written in a more conversational tone than much of the Microsoft marketing materials, which makes them work well as a base for blog posts.
- Whitepaper out-takes. While the whitepapers in campaigns make perfectly fine calls to action in themselves, there is no reason you can't get a little more goodness from them. With a little reworking, you can turn each of the key points in the whitepaper into a blog post or article.
- Telesales guides. In many of the campaign Partner Readiness tools, there are telesales scripts to help train your sales team on key talking points. Each one of these gems can provide content for blog posts and articles, or even provide the basis for updating Web content. Common questions, role-based problem identification and product comparisons provide a ton of great content that is solution-focused, not product-focused.
- PowerPoint to ebook. eBooks are a great call to action for your Web site or campaign, and many of the sales decks on RtG can be easily transformed. Keep each eBook to one topic using the slide graphics and add explanatory text. Add your own value proposition and branding to personalize the document.
Additional Microsoft Resources
While RtG holds the motherload of Microsoft partner content resources, there are more resources worth mentioning to enrich your inbound marketing:
- Microsoft News Center. There are lots of resources that you might not think to look for on Microsoft's press site. Infographics, press releases and research reports can all provide topics for blog posts. Video clips can help you add a bit of professional footage to your next YouTube creation.
- Drumbeat for Office365. Drumbeat is a new site that centralizes sales resources for Office 365. The resource page is a bit limited now, but worth the visit.
- Microsoft customer-facing sites. For everything from Dynamics to Azure, there are customer-facing Web sites that can provide ideas to help you build content. As much as anything, these sites can help you stay on top of layout and design trends to keep your marketing materials looking modern.
Make It Your Own
As you tap these resources, use them as a base to build your personalized content. Your prospects need to see your personality shine through and understand the unique value that you add to the solution sets. Every piece of marketing content that you produce should help prospects understand how they can solve their business problems -- and how you can assist.
Microsoft's investment in marketing tools for partners has increased dramatically over the past several years. Take advantage of the opportunity to increase the quality of your content by building on Microsoft's work. That's what it is there for.
How are you using Microsoft resources to build great content? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on December 05, 2013 at 9:49 AM0 comments
When Microsoft launches new services and devices, partners get the opportunity to build on the national marketing push and increased public awareness.
Yes, Microsoft used to involve partners more, hosting big launch events across the country. Now, partners have two choices: Wish for the past to return or take matters into their own hands. Cyber Advisors, a managed infrastructure partner based in Minneapolis, Minn., chooses the later, with great success.
Bridging the Gap for SMB
In October, building on the releases of Surface 2 and Windows 8.1, Cyber Advisors held an event titled "Out with the Old, IN with the New" at the Microsoft Store in the Mall of America.
"It was the second year of our Microsoft Store Series events," said Dan Sanderson, VP of sales and marketing for Cyber Advisors. "We time the events close to Microsoft launches because it drives interest. Last year, we capitalized on the Surface release."
Consumerization of IT is one of the forces that Sanderson sees as driving interest for businesses to attend Cyber Advisors' events. "Especially in the SMB space, we are seeing a crossover between the consumer side and the business of Microsoft," Sanderson said. "The owners of these businesses have a phone and tablet that they use for both their personal and business life. By inviting business customers to the Microsoft Store, we can show them how to bridge that gap."
Of the nearly 100 attendees at the October event, SMB business owners and managers made up about three-fourths of the crowd, with enterprise managers filling out the group. Reflective of the experience of other partners, events at Microsoft stores are most effective in drawing small and midmarket businesses.
'A Consultative Approach'
The Cyber Advisors seminar started with a short presentation explaining the benefits of moving off Windows XP. In all of his company's events, Sanderson keeps the sales part short, spending the bulk of the time letting technical people demonstrate.
"The last thing that customers want is to listen to salespeople," Sanderson said. "We take a consultative approach, bringing credible technical people in to present. Our top level architects do the demonstrations."
After the introduction, two sessions were set up on opposite sides of the store. On one side, consultants presented a scenario-based demonstration based on the Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) program. On the other side was a demonstration of Office 365 and the ease of migrating from Exchange. Attendees could move from one side to the other to get a sense of both presentations.
"We got a lot of opportunities coming out of the event," Sanderson said. "There are three specific opportunities that will pay for the event 25 times over, one being a 300-seat Exchange-to-Office-365 migration."
While social media marketing may get all the attention these days, events are an effective way to connect with your prospects, especially in the SMB space. If you need more inspiration, check out the Microsoft Ready-to-Go site for more partner event stories.
How are you using events to connect with prospects? Add a comment below, or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on November 14, 2013 at 11:07 AM0 comments
Committing to a social media marketing strategy is a tough pledge for most partners to make. Paybacks aren't immediate and the time investment can be substantial. Yet as young people begin to move up through the ranks of business to become the buyers you serve, is there a choice?
It Takes One To Know One
After feeling that the money spent on outsourced social media marketing was not delivering adequate returns, Ric Opal, vice president of Peters & Associates, a Chicago-based multi-competency partner, decided to hire a young person to manage the company's social media.
"We created a new position and hired a recent college grad. He manages social and has additional digital marketing responsibilities," Opal said. "We've sent him to social media boot camp to learn from others immersed in the tactics. Whoever manages your social media needs to be connected to the social marketing community."
The approach is apparently working. Peters & Associates earned the 2013 Microsoft Midwest Area Partner and Central Region Partner awards at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July.
"We use social to cultivate our brand and as a lever to drive SEO," Opal said. "People who are interested are eventually going to go to your Web site to figure out exactly what you do. Having a clear message of how you add value to the technology on your home page is critical."
To simplify the mechanics of social media management, Peters & Associates uses Hootsuite to send out Tweets and monitor for social traction. Tweets are sent out on a regular schedule, driving to the company blog and to Microsoft content. Compensation motivates Peters & Associates' field professionals to write regular posts keeping the company blog content relevant. A Web site refresh is in the works that will better capitalize on their social and blogging activity.
A Fundamental Shift for Every Business
The need to make social media a part of doing business is shared by partners and customers alike. Every business has to adjust to the fundamental shift in how we interact with employees, customers, vendors and prospects. By using and becoming familiar with the tools and the challenges themselves, partners are in a better position to fully understand and assist customers.
"We need to be able to speak in the marketing vernacular to our customers. To help them drive sales and connect with their customers in different ways -- and on different devices," Opal noted. "Partners can't afford to be socially illiterate. You have to speak the customer's language."
To that end, Peters & Associates is using Yammer internally to gain an understanding of how its customers may use it. Gaining familiarity first hand with all of the evolving tools in the Microsoft stack has always been a best practice of courageous partners.
The Changing Landscape
As the digital natives work their way through college and into the business world, they change the ground rules for customer engagement. Partners can choose to ignore or adapt to the changing landscape -- the former at their peril.
"If you are not out making noise and someone else is, buyers will be led to someone...and it's not going to be you," Opal said. "Much like having a Web site is a basic requirement, social is a required component for every partner. It's just a reality."
How are you using social media to promote your business? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on October 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM0 comments
Recruitment is often cited as the No. 1 challenge for partners. Is your Web site helping?
As a quick exercise, pretend you are a student graduating this spring with a degree in business information technology. (Even better if you can imagine that you are something other than a white male student.) Now, go to your company Web site.
- On the home page, are there any words or photos that appeal to a young person looking to make an impact on the world?
- Is it easy to find the careers page, or does it feel like an afterthought?
- Look at the leadership page. Do the photos reflect diversity and the opportunity for advancement, regardless of gender or ethnicity?
- Are there any pictures of real people on the site (other than management), or just stock photos of corporate-looking models?
- Are there any stories about the projects that you work on, or the people who work for you?
How did you do? Is your Web site a talent magnet or is it time to put a Web site refresh at the top of the to-do list?
There is no one "right way" to make your Web site attractive to the young and talented. The good news is that there are partners doing it right and lessons to be learned. Here a just a few examples:
- The personalities of the employees featured on the home page of Centare shine through to speak volumes about the culture of the company.
- It looks like the "interknowlogists" at interknowlogy have a lot of fun. Who wouldn't want to work with that group?
- Reading the profiles of Slalom Consulting employees is like eating Doritos -- just one more before I get back to work. They also share heartwarming stories of the employee sabbaticals.
- Perficient features employee blog posts on its home page and lets employees tell the story themselves. The diversity of the storytellers must attract not only young but "seasoned" professionals thinking about a job change.
The even better news is that the same elements that attract new employees will also appeal to potential customers. People want to do business with people they like. Letting prospects get to know the people who would work on their project builds trust and confidence.
Time for a Refresh
Refreshing your Web site is a daunting task. It's easy to keep moving it to the bottom of the marketing to-do list. If recruitment is a priority, now you have another reason to move it to the top. And, a bit of inspiration.
How are you attracting talent? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on October 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM0 comments
Hot on the heels of the infographic explosion comes the eBook -- the latest incarnation of marketing content delivery. While our industry has a long history of using whitepapers for lead generation, the eBook is gaining traction with partner marketers. So, what's the difference and does it matter?
As with most things marketing, whether it matters lies in the perception of the target audience. Whitepapers have long been regarded as in-depth explorations of subjects written by experts. A decade ago, Microsoft would release 64-page technical whitepapers written for IT managers who were assigned the acronym TDM, which stood for technical decision maker. As non-technical line-of-business managers became more involved in technology decisions, whitepapers got less technical, targeting BDMs, or business decision makers.
Deciding whether to call your document a whitepaper or an eBook should be based on your clearly defined target. Don't try to write a piece that will appeal to both TDMs and BDMs -- the two groups have different goals driving their decisions.
If TDMs remain your primary target, they still need to understand the technology at a deeper level. The classic whitepaper written by an expert still plays an important role in the industry.
The BDM obviously has a different perspective. Start talking about ASP.NET Web APIs or Hyper-V Replication and a non-techie will instantly hit delete. The BDM who downloads a technology-focused whitepaper is probably trying to solve a business-process problem that the IT team isn't helping him fix. Or he's trying to understand what IT is telling him.
White papers written for BDMs historically have taken a standard approach, following a progression such as:
- Define the market drivers.
- Describe the challenges to fulfilling the market drivers.
- Define the ideal solution.
- Explain why your product fits the bill.
The intent is to provide the BDM with evidence that the solution is proven to be effective. Of course, whitepapers are often no more than an extended brochure, but the goal is to provide the BDM reader with "objective" data points.
The eBook has added a new dimension to the mix through design. BDMs, like everyone else, want their information in bite-size chunks with lots of subheads and call-outs. The title eBook promises eye candy -- something easy to consume.
There are a couple of important differences in the layout and design of whitepapers versus eBooks. Most whitepapers are portrait-oriented Word documents saved as PDF-formatted files. They usually contain hyperlinks, but that's the limit of their interactivity.
EBooks, on the other hand, tap into the latest functionality of interactive and multi-device publishing capabilities. Adobe InDesign, a common application used to create eBooks, allows publishers to embed pop-up windows, creative page navigation, slideshows and videos. EBooks come in every size, but most often opt for the landscape orientation for easier reading on a desktop or tablet screen and they're often offered in both PDF and EPUB formats.
While all these bells and whistles make an eBook sound appealing, there's no reason whitepapers can't be oriented horizontally or include interactive elements.
Another difference, driven only by common practice, is that most whitepapers require the prospective reader to fill out a form in order to download and gain access to the whitepaper itself. That "lead" will likely get a phone call from the partner to move the prospect along. Trying to capitalize on the social element and a higher volume of downloads, eBooks usually don't require a form. There's a lot of disagreement on whether to gate (require a form to download) any marketing materials. There's no argument that an un-gated offer will get far more downloads than a gated one.
The difference between whitepapers and eBooks definitely isn't clear-cut, but it's also not worth arguing over. As with most things marketing, there's lots of room for creativity. Electronic publishing tools make it easy to create engaging and informative marketing documents -- no matter what you call them -- that will win you customers.
Posted by Barb Levisay on October 01, 2013 at 12:06 PM0 comments
First impressions are important. The Internet levels the playing field in terms of your ability to reach new markets, but if your Web site doesn't meet the expectations of your visitors, they won't stay long. If you want to compete with bigger players, you better look the part.
Evolution of a Company and Brand
Like many partners, Orckestra, an e-commerce and collaboration services company, has evolved its business model to meet changing market forces. The multi-gold and silver competency Microsoft partner recently launched the e-commerce platform Overture, transitioning from a pure services provider to a product and services company. Since the target market for Overture includes enterprise firms, competitors will include global companies with established brand presence.
As the company worked toward the business model change, it also made the investment in a brand makeover.
"We didn't want to radically change the look and feel of the brand -- we wanted it to evolve," said Damon Sloane, Orckestra's director of product marketing. "While there is a separate brand for the product, it builds on the heritage of the corporate brand."
Sloane's rebranding efforts began with research, looking at enterprise software competitors, as well as consumer-facing businesses, to gauge current trends.
"The goal is to give us more credibility to compete with companies that already have brand recognition in the enterprise space. We've put a lot of effort into color choices and visual cues to convey information quickly," he said.
Launching the Brand
Orckestra's corporate Web site was updated last November, and the Overture product was introduced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July. Collateral was created to showcase the new brands and a media plan, including search and social marketing tactics, is rolling out. Approaching the branding and subsequent marketing as a process, not an event, Sloane will expand his tactics in response to results.
The challenge for any company with an evolving business model -- in Orckestra's case, launching a product -- is to not confuse current or prospective customers. Maintaining the identity of the current business and building a new image is a balancing act.
"We have decided to concentrate on the Orckestra domain," Sloane noted. "In time and with success, we will move to a dedicated site."
Targeting the Audience
An additional challenge for evolving businesses is defining the target audience so that you can fine-tune messaging. No amount of research can really predict which industries your early adopters and champions will come from. Like most partners, Orckestra's service business clients came from every industry.
While Sloane defined target personas to build appropriate messaging for the new brand, it remains a work in progress.
"Our current client base is quite varied. There is no common theme of industry or company size," he said. "It would be easier if we knew there was a vertical or company size that will be our sweet spot."
Sloane's long-term goal is to develop targeted messaging and content for vertical industries. "While we have defined the audience, it's not set in stone and we will be updating," Sloan continued. "For now, we are taking a broader approach, targeting enterprise-level organizations that have an affinity for the Microsoft ecosystem."
After working through the rebranding process at both the corporate and product level, Sloane offers some advice to other partners: "Don't try to bite off too much at one time. You don't have to change every element, like Web site and collateral, at once. Think of a rebranding as an evolution."
For partners making changes to business models, rebranding should be a key component in the transition. When your prospects visit your Web site or stop by your trade show booth, they expect to see a level of professionalism equal to your competitors. Put a plan in place to continuously improve your Web and marketing presence to ensure that you keep pace.
How are you rebranding your business? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM0 comments
September is a month of new beginnings. Summer is over, students are starting a new year and Microsoft employees are figuring out how they are going to hit their 2014 number.
Whether your spring campaign plans got sidetracked helping those same Microsoft employees close last quarter's business or, for some reason, marketing is always the last item on your task list, this is a great time to get back on track.
Build on Your Strengths
Most partners get the bulk of their business from unsolicited referrals. Your clients tell their business associates how you helped solve a problem or improved a process. Those referrals reflect your strengths and should provide the foundation of each of these four steps that will get your marketing back on track.
- Decide whom to target. Define the common qualities of your best customers and use those to narrow your focus on the customers you can help the most. Build your contact list with a variety of sources including your in-house e-mail list and purchased lists.
- Define the problem that you are going to solve. What is the challenge that most of the customers in Step 1 are dealing with that you can solve? Describe what the problem is and how you can solve it (use simple, non-technical terms). You now have your messaging.
- Choose your delivery method. This one has two parts. Choose the form of your message -- blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, in-person events or webinars. Then decide how you are going to offer it to your target customers -- e-mail newsletters, e-mail invitations, pay-per-click or social channels. Use the resources on Microsoft's Ready-to-Go site to augment and simplify your efforts.
- Execute and repeat. A marketing campaign is not a single transaction...ever. Send out the e-mail or post on LinkedIn and then repeat, again and again. For best results, continue to create new forms for your message and use multiple tactics to distribute. For example:
- Send out a monthly newsletter summarizing your blog posts, then offer a whitepaper.
- Hold an in-person event with Microsoft's Community Connections, then send a monthly newsletter to all attendees.
- Create an e-book to promote on LinkedIn and Twitter, then send out a series of e-mails highlighting each point in the e-book.
Build Your Momentum
One of the toughest issues for technology-driven, results-oriented partners is the "squishy" nature of marketing results. No matter what the marketing technologists say, it's very challenging to clearly track the success of your investments -- both time and money -- in marketing.
Yes, tracking leads and measuring success is important, but that is Step 5. Focus on the first four steps and let Step 5 take care of itself for a little while. You've got to have something to measure in order to measure. Take the simplest route to get momentum on your side and results will follow.
How are you building marketing momentum? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 09, 2013 at 5:30 AM0 comments
Face-to-face events are the most effective lead-generation tactic for business-to-business marketers. That's a bold declaration, but is backed by study after study of B2B marketers. Anecdotally, Microsoft partners who are holding events report good response rates and respectable attendance numbers.
Yes, events take time to organize, but no matter what size your business, you can put together a meaningful event that will attract potential customers. There is no better time to hold events than in the fall, after school starts and before the holidays.
1. Choose Topics that Solve Customer Challenges
When you pick your topic, remember that the event is not about products -- it should be about solving the challenges your customers face. If you are using Ready-to-Go campaign materials -- which make a great foundation -- just dial back the product pitch a bit. Don't be afraid to make it your own and let your company's personality shine through.
Just to get you thinking, here are a few ideas for event topics:
- Connect your workers in the field and home office.
- The IT support challenge: cloud computing changes the game.
- Grow your business, not your payroll.
2. Co-Sponsor To Extend Your Reach and Share the Burden
Partner with regional organizations that serve your same target audience but provide a complementary product or service. They will have contacts that you don't, and vice versa, to help you both reach a broader audience. Think outside the box to find your partners. Some examples include:
- Web design or software development company.
- Car dealer providing fleet sales to home service companies.
- Print shop.
- Non-competing technology service firms.
3. Find a Great Location
A different venue can be the tipping point to make a "can't miss" event for business leaders. Some ideas for locations include:
- Museums, art galleries and ball parks are often looking for opportunities to partner with local businesses. As you negotiate, ask the facility to help you publicize the event.
- Microsoft Stores are proving to be a great asset to those partners who are lucky enough to have one in their city.
- A behind-the-scenes tour of a local business. Enlist a customer to show off their facility (and your IT support) to local business leaders.
4. Get an Outside Speaker
Take your topic to a higher level by inviting thought leaders to speak at the event. With a little research, you may be surprised to find well-known teachers and writers right in your backyard. While some will want to be paid, others may jump at the opportunity for some publicity. A few ideas to consider:
- University or adjunct professors to address the future of technology.
- Business writers who can address a topic that links into technology.
- Organize a panel of local business leaders to discuss how they are handling a common challenge.
5. Use Community Connections
A part of Ready-to-Go, Microsoft's Community Connections is a great program that's been featured in this column before. Microsoft will help you connect with professional organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, in your region. Through the program you are immediately positioned as an expert and an extension of the Microsoft team. If that isn't enough, you get free stuff to give out at the event.
Bonus Idea: After the Event, Reuse the Content that You Create
You've spent the time and energy to put an event together -- now, squeeze out every drop of value. Create content from the event that you can post on your Web site, like:
- Record video during the event and edit it down to a short recap.
- Turn PowerPoint presentation decks into e-books.
- Record video of attendees' comments between sessions.
While content and inbound marketing get all the focus these days, B2B marketers still find that face-to-face events deliver the most valuable leads. This fall, hold an event to educate local business leaders and find your next best customers.
How are you making events more valuable for your prospects? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on August 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM0 comments
According to the Forrester Global Business and Consumer Tablet Forecast Update released this week, enterprises will be purchasing 18 percent of all tablets sold by 2017 -- confirmation, if you really needed any, that businesses are going the way of consumers in looking to tablets for their next-gen device.
Do you have your tablet strategy in place? Are you talking to your customers about how their employees in the field can use tablets? Are your salespeople carrying tablets? It's time to get going.
Win the Tablet, Win Windows, Win the Stack
Until recently, iPad was the only game in town. While IT teams have been getting increasing pressure from executives to support tablets for line-of-business functionality, concerns about security, skill set and integration have delayed iPad and Android adoption. Which is where Windows 8 comes in.
The Windows 8 partner opportunity is just starting to heat up, and the cross-device compatibility is a strong value proposition. Businesses large and small are trying to figure out how new devices can help them improve productivity and service. Partners can help by developing the apps that improve their customer or employee experience, or delivering the benefits from security to enterprise-level management.
"When you look at Windows 8 from a tablet perspective, that is where it really shines," says Syd Millett, VP and North America GM of Infusion, this year's Windows 8 Application Partner of the Year. "The tablet market in the enterprise is still untapped and there is a clear advantage in reusing the customer's existing investments, both in technology and staff skill sets."
The Best-Kept Tablet Secret
"Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2 is Microsoft's best-kept secret," Millet noted. "It's thinner and lighter than an iPad, runs Windows and has 10 hours of battery life. Lenovo is a business-friendly brand. When IT managers see it, they see the possibilities of a device that can integrate with the existing technology stack, be supported by current skill sets and handle the business requirements that the line-of-business managers are requesting."
Coming back from July's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Millet showed the Lenovo tablet to Infusion sales reps. They were wowed, and Millet suggested, "You need to take this out to customers and do what I just did. Show them a couple of demos on it, let them hold on to it. It changes everything."
Help Your Customers Envision the Future
Whether your customers are small businesses or enterprises, you have the opportunity to build your value by helping them figure out how to use tablets to improve operations and customer service. It's not a stretch to think that every in-person interaction with a customer can be enhanced with a tablet.
Put your strategy in place and tablets in your salespeople's hands.
How are you making headway with tablets? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on August 08, 2013 at 10:24 AM0 comments
What if you had access to a program that connected you with business decision makers in your community, positioning you as an expert in Microsoft technologies? And what if you could stand in front of an audience of those business leaders and show them how Microsoft technologies can improve their results?
The Microsoft Community Connections (MCC) program supports exactly this, and more. For free.
Reaping the Rewards
While more partners should take advantage of the MCC program, there are many who already do and are reaping the rewards. Among them is US Licensing Group, whose use of MCC played a key role in the company earning the 2013 ASPIRE Award, Microsoft's annual recognition of partner excellence in strategic marketing.
While the award is based on exemplary execution of a well-planned marketing strategy, US Licensing Group President Bill Hole attributes much of his company's success to Microsoft's Ready-to-Go (RtG) and MCC programs.
"MCC is the best way to get leads from the business decision makers who have an immediate need for your services. You get immediate credibility with the audience," Hole said. "You are there on behalf of Microsoft -- the trusted advisor -- and that translates well to the attendees."
Awards from Microsoft are nice, but the real reward for the 10-person US Licensing Group comes in the form of sustained growth.
"We are up 13 percent year over year...and the year is still young," Hole noted. "We are just coming out of a serious economic downturn and we never experienced less than 8 percent growth. You get out of marketing what you put into it. We made a commitment and it has paid off."
Making the Most of Microsoft Assets
The marketing team at US Licensing Group relies on RtG content as the basis for much of its marketing content. A rebranding of the company, launched in January 2013, required an extensive reworking of the company's marketing assets. Starting with the campaigns and content from RtG, the marketing team adjusts the messaging to speak more directly to its small-business target market.
Holding approximately 60 MCC events each year, the US Licensing Group marketing team depends heavily on the campaign content from RtG.
"We actively need to refresh our content because we have a lot of repeat attendees," Hole said. "We want to build our credibility, and MCC paired with RtG makes that possible. We don't have to reinvent the wheel and can quickly go to market with new topics."
Hole is looking forward to holding more events in the soon-to-open Microsoft store and new Microsoft offices located in Southern California, US Licensing Group's home turf. Events located in Microsoft venues further add to the credibility of the partner as an extension of the corporation.
Like many partners, Hole is happy to share his marketing "secrets of success" with others. He met with partners seeking marketing guidance at this year's Worldwide Partner Conference and worked with Microsoft to create a video about the MCC program. Watch the three-minute video below for a great idea about partnering on an MCC event.
Hole's advice to partners includes taking a longer view of marketing efforts in coordination with the Microsoft initiatives. He recommends creating a calendar of marketing activities that leverage the RtG campaign materials and making consistent execution of those activities a priority. For the coming year, US Licensing Group is betting big on the Get2Modern and the new Office RtG campaigns.
As I've mentioned before, consistency is your secret weapon in marketing. Microsoft has made a concerted effort over the past several years to create professional-looking content through RtG that partners can make their own. The MCC program makes it easy to position yourself as an expert with business decision makers in your community. Together, RtG and MCC are a winning combination that every partner should make a part of their marketing plan.
How have you used MCC to build your business? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM0 comments