Marketing isn’t easy, but MSPs need a strong marketing strategy in order to get their business recognized, beat out the competition, and ultimately win new business. For MSPs who need help with their marketing, there are many tools available to streamline marketing processes, but there are also trusted advisors and marketing services available to help you achieve your goals.
One of these advisors is Stuart Crawford, creative director and MSP marketing coach with Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on IT marketing and business development. Stuart is also a judge for the MSP Marketing Masters Awards, and he’ll be helping to select the winning company. To provide you with some marketing tips before you submit your entry, we asked Stuart for his advice. Here’s what we learned in the Q&A with MSP marketing expert.
Q&A with A Marketing Master, Stuart Crawford
Q: When you were running your own MSP business, what were the biggest challenges you faced in marketing your business?
I would say our biggest challenge was getting everyone in the company see the value of marketing. Several years after I sold out of my business, a former employee came to me and had realized what I was bringing to the company was of huge value. He didn’t see the value when working for us, as most technicians don’t, however it is very important that everyone in the company buys into the value of marketing. They need to realize the value marketing a company can bring to the overall bottom line and financial wellbeing of the MSP business.
Q: What metrics do you evaluate when looking at the success of a marketing campaign (for example, open rates, ROI, etc.)?
For me, what matters most is net new revenue. Click-through rates, open rates, and social media “likes” are part of the formula, but the only thing that truly matters is net new revenue. This revenue comes from three sources:
- Net new customer revenue
- Revenue generated from opportunities lost in the past
- Net new revenue from current customers
Q: What do you think is the most important part of an MSP’s marketing strategy?
I’d have to say consistency. I see far too many managed services companies suffer from instant gratification. This approach never works because marketing is a long, drawn-out, involved effort. That’s why consistency and then persistence are the most important part of any MSP marketing strategy. The question I’d ask is, do you have the stamina to keep marketing your MSP business long after others have quit?
Q: What’s your number one piece of advice for MSP marketers with limited time?
Outsource the tactical work. Continue to own the vision but outsource the tactical work involved in your marketing. The tactical work is the hardest part.
My second piece of advice is to stop listening to so-called gurus who have never owned a MSP business or walked a mile in your shoes. Connect with people who understand your business and market.
Q: As a marketing and sales coach at Ulistic, what common mistakes do you see MSPs making in their marketing?
This sentiment continues from my answer above. A common mistake MSPs make in their marketing is taking advice from anyone with an opinion. In the end, everyone has an opinion, and some are not qualified to be giving you advice. My advice is to seek out an expert and listen to one person—stop getting feedback from every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there with an opinion.
Q: What marketer or company’s marketing strategy do you admire most and why?
I am a huge Dan Kennedy fan. His company GKIC has helped Ulistic craft many marketing activities that have helped our clients win in the marketplace. GKIC embodies everything we do at Ulistic.
Q: We’re really excited to have you participating as a judge in the MSP Marketing Masters Awards! Can you give our readers any tips about what you’ll be looking for in a winning entry?
I am going to be looking for original ideas. I crave originality, not a copycat of someone else. The companies with original ideas and execution will get my attention.