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Marketing Excellence Report for Microsoft Partners Expands Scope

Wouldn't it be helpful to have a list of the Microsoft partners who are doing a great job with inbound marketing? Even better if the list is accompanied by analysis of why their marketing works.

That's exactly what you will get from the Inbound Marketing Excellence Report, which this year evaluated over 25,000 Microsoft partners. In the report, Fifty Five and Five, the London-based marketing agency dedicated to the Microsoft channel, ranks 250 partners and provides analysis for the top 50.

While there is no shortage of marketing research available today, a report specifically focused on Microsoft partners provides unique insight into the practices of businesses who serve similar markets with similar services. Based on the preview copy of the Marketing Excellence Report, partners will reap important insights into the evolving inbound marketing practices of businesses just like their own. The final report is scheduled for release in July during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) next month. You can pick up a hard copy at the expo or pre-register for a copy here.

The ambitious project expands on last year's review of Office 365 and SharePoint partners to include the broader Microsoft channel. "We extended the report based on the feedback we received. Partners really appreciated the independent report and wanted to see a broader range in the types of partners we reviewed," said Aidan Danaher, marketing manager for Fifty Five and Five. "Ultimately, our aim is to continue the report over the years to provide partners with insight into the trends in the industry. By including partners across business models, we can provide a truer industry snapshot."

Another improvement in this year's report is the inclusion of more prescriptive marketing guidance and step-by-step guides. The Key Findings section provides analysis of overall channel trends and calls out best practices. The description of methodology, including the tools that Fifty Five and Five used for analysis, provides information that partners can put into practice to evaluate their own progress.

The Marketing Excellence Report ranks partners on a scale of 0 to 100, grading their blogging output, Web site and social media activity. In-depth analysis of the reasons the top 10 partners earned their spots offers inspiration partners can use to improve Web site appearance, service descriptions and content delivery. In addition to details on the top 50 partners, a list of the 200 runner-up partners includes their scores, giving each of those partners an objective measure of their marketing efforts.   

Also included in the report are interviews with marketing leaders from cutting-edge partners providing practical guidance for real-world application of inbound practices. The foreword is written by David Meerman Scott, well-known marketing strategist and frequent WPC presenter. The report provides an interesting perspective of the state of Tweeting with a page of stats on Twitter and the Microsoft partner channel.

Fifty Five and Five included a bonus section this year called "The 6 Month Marketing Fitness Plan" to provide specific recommendations to help you move up in the rankings for next year's report. With its practical and achievable guidance, the plan provides step-by-step marketing activities that any partner can implement.

The report can be particularly useful to marketing professionals who need help convincing leadership of the value and effectiveness of specific marketing tactics. "If you face resistance within your company and some of your competitors made the list, you can use the report to start conversations," Danaher said. "The report is independent, so there is no hidden agenda. You can help your team see that other partners are finding success with blogs or social media."

An important takeaway from the report is that most of the tactics reviewed don't come with high price tags. "CEOs often associate marketing with a lot of money," added Danaher. "Blogs and social media don't require big investments. The company can build a lot of value -- and Web site traffic -- just by harnessing the ideas within the organization." Which is a concept that many marketers are challenged to prove to leadership.

The "Top 50 Microsoft Partners: Inbound Marketing Excellence Report" is free and will be available for download after July 11, 2016. Or stop by booth #1718 at the WPC Expo for a print copy. 

How are you improving your inbound marketing activities? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 15, 2016