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Microsoft Resources To Fuel Your CSP Marketing: Part 1

For traditional Microsoft partners, participating in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program requires a new level of marketing. Most MSPs, Dynamics VARs and system integrators (SIs) have been testing the waters with digital marketing but referrals still bring in the bulk of their projects. But to be successful as a CSP, you need to drive more volume, which means reaching more people with a strong digital presence.

The CSP program also poses a new challenge for Microsoft in how to provide marketing support for unique, partner-defined solutions. Each partner's CSP offering is unique, some focused on tightly defined sub-verticals and niche markets. According to Microsoft, there are currently 3,000 CSP partners in the United States alone. With that many unique solutions, horizontal or even industry-specific campaigns can't provide the coverage that partners need. 

In response, Microsoft's partner marketing enablement is moving to focus on education, rather than just providing pre-packaged campaigns, As the hub for partner marketing education, Marketing SureStep is designed to provide self-help for partners to build their marketing expertise. The site includes sections on content development, customer targeting and results measurement, leading partners to resources based on their level of Novice, Skilled or Expert marketer. It's worthwhile to dig into each of the sections no matter what your familiarity with marketing is to find resources that might fit your situation.

New to SureStep: Online Workshops
Recently added to the SureStep lineup are workshops delivered virtually through Skype and in person during Microsoft's SMB Live events. Workshops are also designed to support different levels of marketing sophistication and teach core digital marketing skills over eight to 16 lessons.

Presentations include step-by-step, real-world marketing examples so partners can put what they learn into immediate practice. To participate in the workshops, partners are asked to commit to set goals, attend, complete and launch marketing campaigns, as well as join office hours to share best practices with other partners.

Some of the topics covered in the workshops include:

  • Build an impactful value proposition to use as a guide for marketing messages and strategy.
  • Understand the customer buying journey.
  • Create a persona to describe ideal target customer.

Marketing SureStep on Yammer
The Yammer Marketing SureStep group provides a forum to connect with the Microsoft marketing team. The group posts announcements for upcoming and recorded Marketing SureStep Office Hours, which provide partners with the opportunity to interact with the Microsoft marketing team and other partners.

Partner Profitability Series
The third eBook in Microsoft's Modern Partner Series, "Modernize Sales and Marketing," provides an excellent high-level perspective of CSP marketing. It's a good document to ask everyone in your organization to read. Digital marketing is far more effective if everyone in the organization supports the effort. From building out your value proposition to writing blogs to social media promotion, your entire team should be engaged in marketing.

Digital marketing is still a new frontier for most partners, especially for traditional partners pursuing the CSP business model. A significant part of the CSP value prop comes through taking advantage of the resources that Microsoft makes available to partners. There is no easy path; digital marketing requires a commitment to learn the best practices and execute them consistently. Over the coming months, we'll talk to a variety of CSP partners about how they are using the Microsoft marketing tools to expand their customer base.  

How are you marketing your CSP offering? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.      

Posted by Barb Levisay on August 10, 2016


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