Friday, March 28, 2014

Taking a Proactive Approach To Marketing Cloud Solutions

Taking a Proactive Approach to Marketing Cloud Solutions
by Cameron Bell
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Telecom agents, value added resellers (VARs), managed services providers, and other cloud technology stakeholders face a daunting marketing responsibility ahead. The confusing cloud environment and people’s disconcerted understanding of what the cloud is all about are the biggest challenges for cloud marketers. What can marketers do when potential cloud adopters don’t know the difference between genuine cloud solutions and pseudo-cloud adaptations? How can they approach a divergent market that is characterized by populations like these: consumers who don’t know what cloud is, customers who have an idea of what cloud is but don’t know what to do with it, and customers who know what cloud is and plan to adopt it? What follows are ideas about how to approach these divergent populations.

Show how cloud works 
Appealing to the sense of sight is especially helpful for IT-minded business people like CIOs. Video tutorials are compelling tools to demonstrate how the technology works, and they also easily can illustrate the cloud’s core benefits. The main goal of a video tutorial would be to educate–never to make a direct sales pitch. Viewers easily get irritated by bombastic overtures and often opt out of such presentations. Product tutorials, step-by-step guides, and how-to pieces are excellent video ideas that help tell the story of the cloud and how it can help their business.

Give proof 
Businesses want to ensure that when they shift to new technology like cloud services, they are not plunging into the unknown. They want proof of the technology’s success and of satisfied customer experience through factual case studies and testimonials. Documenting a true story of defining a problem, offering a solution, and achieving positive results will help a company establish itself as a thought leader in its niche. Testimonials by verifiable customers also are convincing and can lead to sales.

Use illustrations 
Text is an important part of your website, but images and graphics almost always get the viewer’s primary and initial attention. With the emergence of millions of camera-enabled mobile devices, the world has become a visual culture where images are the driving force for increased customer engagement. In a high speed business landscape where people have less and less time to read lengthy text, high-quality photos and readable graphics are the key to spurring conversion and sales.

Anticipate customers’ questions 
Customers need immediate answers to questions about new cloud services that they intend to adopt, but they may not know where to look for this information and who to ask. A frequently asked questions webpage holds a lot of value, and it serves as the first line of customer service. It becomes an even more effective online customer service center if it provides organized, accurate, relevant, transparent, and up-to-date questions and answers.

Offer value-based pricing 
Price is often the main consideration, but, as many know, cheapest is not always the best. Many customers are still hitched to the lowest price, but many are open to exploring price for value. They know that they may be saving long-term costs if they put a premium on the value of the product they are buying. A price sheet, therefore, is more than just a list of price levels. Value-based pricing highlights the features, functionalities, and benefits of a product, clearly indicating what price comes with what feature. Telecom agents are at the crossroads of their marketing careers as the cloud hovers over their heads. No matter what the game looks like years from now, the competition will continue. Technology integration through the cloud is paving the way to the integration of services by MSPs, telecom agents, VARs, and other marketing stakeholders. The best way to compete is to collaborate. -

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