In early 2015, insights from Beyond Infrastructure: Cloud 2.0 Signifies New Opportunities for Cloud Service Providers were released detailing the future of cloud service providers and Managed Service Providers. Key findings include:
- The highest expectations when moving to hosted services or cloud computing are gaining improved technology quality on platforms and applications, helping to grow the business, improved availability and better business service.
- Within two years, 34% of enterprises will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform. 47% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years.
- 63% of all enterprises surveyed are running an on-premises private cloud with a hosted private cloud. 45% using an on-premises private cloud with a public cloud. 32% have a hosted private cloud integrated to a public cloud.
- CIO/CTOs are the most influential C-level executives regarding purchasing decisions related to cloud-based Application Development and IT Operations/Administration apps. CEOs are the most influential regarding cloud-based marketing app adoption.
These findings make me wonder about service providers’ customer acquisition strategy. Marketing departments are buying more cloud, CEOs are most influential about cloud-based marketing adoption, cloud needs to help grow the business and so-on. Selling cloud services is not about the technology, it is instead adding strategic value to the company. In that respect, do service providers and managed service providers need to evaluate their customer acquisition strategy? The market is changing and so too are your potential customers.
Advice for Customer Acquisition
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean customers will come. As part of your business plan you’ll have looked at what you want to offer in the cloud. This step in your considerations is all about how you will get customers. How do you plan to market to them. Here are a few starters to consider:
- Have clear messaging. Ensure you have clear messaging about your product on your website and collateral. This messaging step is important as you try to differentiate yourself in the market.
- Adopt a cost effective marketing strategy. There are many ways to market your organization – you can run an outbound strategy of attending events for example or an inbound strategy where you try to attract visitors to your site based on your expertise. You’ll want to consider what might be right for you and your budget. Perhaps you’ll use some of both, or one strategy, but ensure you are doing it well.
- Put some lead-generation in place. Flexiant studied a variety of hosting companies and service providers, using various tools to understand each company’s online presence and marketing. Only 19% of companies use lead generation. This is truly shocking! What this means is that more than 80% of the companies analyzed do not attempt to engage with or capture the details of visitors to their site. This means that these companies have no way of nurturing visitors and turning them into qualified leads.
- Blog! It might seem like a minor thing, but a blog is an invaluable method of delivering fresh content for your audience and vital for SEO. Why? Search engines look for active websites. By adding a blog, visitors will have new content to share, which in turn generates inbound links to your websites, raising your credibility rating. For many advocates of content marketing the blog is the fulcrum point around which the entire content agenda revolves. Not having an active blog severely limits your ability to be found and engage with your existing and target audience.
- Consider content marketing automation. Content marketing automation is the online marketing equivalent of the CRM (customer relations management) approach used in sales. It is a holistic software solution to track all of the prospect and customer interactions, marketing campaigns and online analytics associated with marketing. Often these systems are integrated with the CRM system to give a complete view of the prospect as it progresses from marketing into sales and on to customer.
Marketing is a science of its own. Read some Marketing Innovations Every Service Provider Must Know to help you with customer acquisition.