June 17, 2011
By Mamush Heayie

Opening the day 2 Asigra Fourth Annual Summit was Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing,  Tracy Staniland, who joined Asigra in 2011 and emphasized the theme of this year’s conference – OutMarket, OutSell, OutSmart. Her opening remarks were presented to Asigra’s extensive partner community in a packed ballroom of hundreds of managed service providers focused on cloud backup and recovery.

During her presentation, Staniland noted the importance of educating constituents through consistent marketing and pointed out that even technical people engage in marketing, albeit unconsciously. “Everyone talks about their company to industry outsiders or friends and that–is a kind of marketing,” noted Staniland. But what is marketing really? It was pointed out that while there is no single definition, marketing is all about “defining, maintaining, developing and owning markets.”

The presentation focus quickly turned to the need for developing specialist markets as every business needs to own one or more segments of the market. It was argued that markets are determined by who the target audience is and what kind of business outcomes are anticipated. Additionally, it is important to “identify and specialize” in the market area most relevant to a businesses area of expertise.

As an example, businesses may leverage expertise in the medical or legal industries; gain credibility as experts in that market by showcasing customer successes in those areas; understand the applications being used within these markets and appreciate the compliance hurdles or specific business challenges those customers face. Experts providing services are encouraged to learn the language of their respective market(s) to demonstrate familiarity, assuring customer prospects they understand their business. As a generalist, a horizontal marketeer, vendors are a jack of all trades which puts them in a disadvantage because they commodotize their offering. There is a core business message or area of specialty that service providers need to communicate in order to differentiate themselves in the market. “MSPs and Partners must understand that technology is only one element of their offering,” noted Staniland.

Reporting on an end-user survey undertaken by Asigra to identify some of the vertical markets, it was noted that approximately 41% of survey participants said disaster recovery and business continuity was their top priority. The statistics regarding the disaster recovery priority obtained was as under: Healthcare 38%, Financial and Insurance Services 43%, and Business Services and Construction 42%. Using such data can help service providers to better understand and prioritize market opportunities and is very useful in defining a go-to-market strategy.

“In terms of the positioning of service provider offerings to align with target market requirements, it is important to understand the expected business outcomes,” said Staniland. Adding that “businesses aim to increase productivity, by reducing the time it takes to get employees online, reduce outages, and integrate backup with their overall data protection strategies.” In the same study, 57% of end-users surveyed said that they needed to integrate data protection with their overall business strategy and see the paybacks. This is important information as it allows the service provider to tailor its SLA to the customer’s needs.

Concluding the presentation, partners were encouraged to engage more intensely with their “virtual marketing team” at Asigra. It was pointed out that Asigra strongly believed in the efficacy of partner marketing programs and had instituted several such programs in the past, such as the Hybrid Partner Program and would continue to do so in the future.

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