MSP Marketing Madness – Be Human

Last month I got an invite to attend Hubspot’s INBOUND13 Marketing Conference in Boston, the largest inbound marketing conference in the world.  Over the past few weeks of conversations with IT Service Providers, it became evident that the lessons I learned from INBOUND were right in line with some of the challenges that IT service providers face while marketing their services and businesses.  In this first post of the MSP Marketing Madness blog series, we’ll collect and share marketing tips from some of the greatest minds in the world with advice on implementation into your MSP business.

hub

Image Source:  Keynote image from the #INBOUND13 in Boston Album by Vocus

Tip 1:  Stop Marketing.  Stop Selling.  Instead, Start Connecting.

Imagine the scene when over 5,500 marketers from around the world flooded into Boston for the annual Hubspot INBOUND 13 Marketing Conference, only to hear that the greatest marketing advice from top gurus including Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, and countless others was to, in essence, “stop marketing“.

Why?

We, as business people, must learn to be more human, solve for the human problems, and connect as humans during sales interactions.  Above all else, we must humanize our brand!

The way that people consume, understand value, and make buying decisions has transformed the way that you need to market and sell your solutions.  Instead of hard selling or pushing marketing messaging, start connecting with the people who buy from you and  make the interaction more human by having real conversations about their daily challenges and how you can help them.  At the end of the day, there is always a human behind every brand, product, or your company.  Think about that the next time you’re about to press the send button on emails to your customers with a marketing slick or a datasheet. Continue reading “MSP Marketing Madness – Be Human” »

         

It’s Time for Boston TechJam, Boston’s Tech Block Party…Are You In?

techjam

When we decided to move our corporate HQ to Boston’s Innovation District in April, getting more involved in the local tech community was a major driver.  So when MassTLC came looking for local tech companies to help with their inaugural tech block party known simply as TechJam, we jumped at the opportunity.  So what exactly is TechJam and why should our Boston readers care?

In a nutshell, Boston TechJam, which gets underway this Thursday, October 3rd, at District Hall on Northern Ave. is a collaboration between local tech companies, leading industry groups, the City of Boston, and anyone else who loves local innovation.  There’s going to be startup bands; food trucks; craft beer; artwork from the Fort Point Arts Community; and sponsor tents with games and giveaways.

What you should expect:

•1,000+ colleagues networking from the Boston technology and start-up scene

•Local bands

•Local artists showcasing their innovations with technology

•Local food and drink (21+ event)

Best part is that the $10 attendance fee for the event will be donated towards the Mass Computer Science initiative through MassTLC’s Education Foundation and MassCAN. Students get in for free.

We plan to be there en masse…and yeah, we’d love to see you.

Register online now at www.bostontechjam.org and we’ll see you there!

         

Supporting employee-introduced apps: 4 steps to consider

bring your own app trend

(Image source)

Employees don’t want to work at a company where the first word out of the IT guy or gal’s mouth is always “No.”  And, correspondingly, there’s not a single IT person in the world who wants to be the “yes man” (or woman)–  the three-letter word that causes IT policies to be thrown out the window.

Today, you’d expect a lot more No’s than Yes’ as the BYOA (bring-your-own app) trend continues. It’s especially true when you consider  70 percent of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorized programs resulted in half of their companies’ data loss incidents.

Before you go one way or another–  yes or no — to employee requests for app support, be proactive with your strategy and consider taking these steps:

1. Survey:  Using a free tool like surveymonkey.com, ask your employees what apps they’re using at work and at home to stay productive.  Knowing is half the battle. As long as their answers are kept anonymous, they’re likely to be honest with you.

2. Discuss:  Once you know the top apps being used, find out why. Be prepared: it may be your fault. Are they adopting cloud storage solutions because you’ve failed to provision a mobile VPN? Could be. Sit down and talk with your employees to figure out what’s caused them to go rogue.

3. Learn: Maybe that collaboration app your marketing team is using isn’t the worst thing to happen to your company’s data security. Heck, it could be protecting you. Get on the web, read the documentation and learn about the apps.

4. Make a plan: There’s no silver bullet to making a strategic IT decision about employee desires and requests, but remember: there’s a balance. Create a Plus/Minus/Interesting or “PMI” chart (invented by Edward DeBono). In the “Interesting” column write down anything that may not be obviously positive or negative, but could lead you to some new territory. At the end, you may have your answer.

The use of the collaboration app I discovered being used in Marketing last week…

Plus Minus Interesting
Employees happy (+4) Can’t manage it (-2) Positions me as an early-adopter (+4)
Increases productivity (+3) Doesn’t integrate with AD (-3)  CEO is on our Advisory Board (+3)
Encrypts files not usually encrypted  (+5) Requires company-wide training (-1)
May increase bandwidth usage (-2)
+12
-8
+7

When all is said it done, it’s IT’s choice and no one else’s. So, who do you want to be? The “yes (wo)man” or the “no (wo)man”?  What’s your approach for getting there?