The Art of Selling Space - Marketing Strategy for Hosting Providers

Total Product Marketing
25 de Jul de 2014

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The Art of Selling Space - Marketing Strategy for Hosting Providers

  1. The Art of Selling Space Redux By Makiko Ara Director of Digital Media
  2. Twitter Event #sellingspace @totalpm
  3. Growing the Cloud and Hosting Industry How do we make the cloud easier to access and manage? How do we connect to our buyer better? How do we convince our buyer that the Cloud is secure and stable.
  4. The Marketing Pains of the Cloud and Hosting Industry A Very Crowded Market • Providers tend to look and sound the same Growth by Referrals • Regular marketing hasn’t been necessary Lack of Resources • Budget and Team
  5. Common Marketing Traps... • Too much emphasis on functionality • A race to-the-bottom • Lack of creativity B2B buyers are human. You are still selling to a Consumer on the other side of the screen. Decisions are not 100% objective.
  6. … How Do Customers Buy Hosting • Reactive not proactive • There’s Amazon, GoDaddy, Rackspace and everybody else...right? • Difficult to quantify and measure the differences Everybody is secure, right? I’ve been burned before. Who can I trust? `
  7. So the worst thing you can do... Focus too much on functionality!
  8. B2B Buyers Make Decisions Based on Emotions The traditional marketing strategy for technology branding has looked like this: Time, Money, Energy, Resources Spent #1 Functional: > 90% #2 Economical: < 10% #3 Emotional: < 1% B2B decision making is largely irrational, so consider the consumer’s needs before your offerings. Mohanbir Sawhney, Professor of Technology at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  9. See No Difference in Functionality QUESTION: Do you see a real difference between suppliers and value the difference enough to pay for it? 14% NO 86%
  10. What if you… • Focus on Emotional Benefits • Be unique and tout your specializations (be best of breed) and relate to the buyer • Employ creativity and use your limited marketing dollars wisely • Create the anticipation of professional and personal rewards
  11. The Mind of the New (B2B) Buyer A new breed of B2B buyer • Consumes content like water • Extremely self-sufficient for research • Extremely impatient and impulsive • Values trust and referrals
  12. But... The new breed of B2B buyer is still emotional creature that despite great attempts to cover it up in the form of ROI analyses, hosting provider comparison matrices, technical evaluations and the like… is often driven by FEAR. (the unknown, wrong decision, failure)
  13. And other emotions that connect... Trust, Security, Competition, Belonging, Control, Freedom, Leadership, and even Guilt.
  14. The 3 Benefits That You Must Convey A B2B technology brand should convey 3 benefits to its B2B Buyer as part of their positioning message. FUNCTIONAL BENEFIT ECONOMIC BENEFIT EMOTIONAL BENEFIT
  15. But Playing On Emotion is Not New Remember these ads: “10 out of 12 Healthcare Companies Use Oracle”
  16. Why Add Emotion to Your Marketing The emotional brain processes sensory information in one fifth of the time our cognitive brain takes to assimilate the same input. People feel first, think second
  17. Trust is more valuable than data.
  19. #1: Promote Emotional Benefits Sell on emotion. What does your product help the customer accomplish. How will they feel?
  20. Why Add Emotion to Your Marketing Case study following 1400 advertising campaigns measuring the economic success of campaigns sorted by emotional content. EMOTIONAL COMBINED RATIONAL 31% 26% 16%
  21. #2: Triggers with Association Using memorable triggers in your marketing to remind buyers of what makes you remarkable.
  22. Triggers Help Buyers Remember You
  23. Exciting and Remarkable Content
  24. High perceived value content EQUALS High perceived value of products, services & company #3: Create Content of Value
  25. Lawn Mowing Child Care Medical Clinic CostofService Complexity of Service Janitorial Courier Insurance Accountant Consultant Hosting Customer’s Expectations for Quality of Marketing Content
  27. Insurance - A Parallel Industry Hosting and Insurance Industry ● Protecting our business and livelihood ● Highly competitive industry ● Commodity providers, premium providers and specialists ● Disaster recovery has the same implications ● Competitive research usually done on the web What Can We Learn? ● Marketing to emotion ● The Insurance Agent is the trusted advisor ● Off the shelf plans with customization ● Established brands firebomb. Newer players enter with a specialized angle.
  28. Conclusion: Your Take Home Action Plan 5 ETC Things You Can Do Today
  29. Visuals and photos that reflect the emotions and experiences of your prospective customers.
  30. Piggyback on your customers’ brands and associated value, in a meaningful way. What they stand for, you will stand for.
  31. Example photos
  32. Specialize. Admit you’re not good at everything and focus on what you are good at. Sharpen your message. Make it meaningful.
  33. Example photos
  34. If you are selling support and specialized solutions, incorporate photos of team members as part of your brand. This is an easy but often over-looked way to connect at a human level with your customers.
  35. Create a Jargon dictionary of commonly used words in your sector and remove them from your material. Use real words that resonate with the buyer.
  36. A CB
  37. 8 … 7 … 6 … 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
  38. 1. Use visuals to depict the emotions of your buyer 2. Piggyback on your clients’ associated value 3. Focus on your specialization 4. Use photos of your staff to connect to your buyer 5. Remove jargon and use real words 5 ETC Things to do Today
  39. Bonus Take-Away Create customer-focused products as a starting point for discussion for selling.
  40. Why Productize Your “Custom” Product • Kill the “We can do anything” message. • Hone in on your strengths and play those up. • Specialize. Specialize. Specialize. The product provides insight into how you service your clients. Address the pain points. Be the trusted advisor.
  41. The Product as a Starting Point
  42. Emotions Drive Buying Decisions
  43. Trust is More Valuable Than Data Emotional Benefits • Motivate action through emotion Triggers with Association • Be memorable with triggers Content of Value • High perceived value content = High perceived value of company
  44. Total Product Marketing Makiko Ara, Director of Digital Media Call 1.855.646.8662 1.855.6.GOTOMARKET

Notas del editor

  1. This presentation was originally presented at HostingCon2014 in the Sales and Marketing Stream. The content has been adapted for webinar and a live recording is available here:
  2. You start to see that it’s difficult to quantify the differences so we start to rely on subjective differences.
  3. In most cases the functionality you offer on its own isn’t remarkable. Unless you’re Amazon. Now, my guess is that Amazon doesn’t care too much about marketing. Their focus is purely on functionality. They excel at functionality! They are the ones that moved the bar on functionality! Their functionality is indeed remarkable. Remarkable means you are top 1% of what you do. Something that makes people say, “Holy smokes!” If you’re not functionally remarkable, then we can be economically remarkable. That’s GoDaddy and BlueHost in their space. “Holy smokes! $3.49 a month for shared hosting!” I don’t know what I’m getting, but I have nothing to lose! So unless you are remarkable economically or functionally, don’t lead with that message. Now don’t get me wrong. You have to be competitive, but don’t lead with functionality.
  4. Despite what seems logical, even B2B decision making is largely irrational and emotional. So why aren’t we focusing more on the emotional. Think of the time when you were shopping for vendors for your business. Maintenance contracts, equipment, software, printers, couriers, professional services...whatever it may have been. How much of your decision was based on a gut feeling? If you remember only one thing from this presentation, let it be that we need to tap into the emotional benefits in order to connect to the B2B buyer.
  5. Let’s think about what I’m saying here. As technology providers, I am asking you to talk less about functionality. This may be a difficult pill to swallow, but consider this… Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council conducted a customer experience survey of 3,000 purchasers of 36 B2B brands. The survey wanted to understand the factors that drove decision making amongst B2B buyers. The research found that most buyers couldn’t see the functional differences between vendors. The survey specifically asked, “Do you see a real difference between suppliers and value the difference enough to pay for it?” The answer was a resounding “No” with 86% saying they couldn’t see a real difference between suppliers, and didn’t value the difference enough to pay for it. So what’s left? How did they make their decision?
  6. What if you could assure the buyer that making the switch to you as a vendor is the right decision.
  7. Making a decision like which bread to buy is easier than deciding which wine to buy. That’s because we buy bread more often than wine. We can make very rational and objective decisions about bread buying. We buy based on price, nutritional value, taste, maybe texture. We can do that because we make this decision often and we can be objective about it. Now wine… I apologize to any wine drinkers out there, but how many of you have reached for a bottle of wine because you like the label. Or because the name made us laugh. You probably had a price range in mind and after some thought, made a pretty irrational decision. The result was either a very rewarding glass of wine and accolades at the dinner party, or disappointment and polite comments over dinner. Now, make the leap to buying hosting for your company. A decision most of us make only a handful of times in  our lives (if you’re lucky...only once). We go into the process with every intention of being objective, but at the end of the day our notepad is filled with subjective comments about how the site resonated with us. And at the end of the day, we are just looking for a company we can trust that will do what they say they will do and make us look good for a decision well made.
  8. How you can quell those fears is by developing a strategy that is based on the emotional experience of the buyer, like assurance …. [next slide lists rest]
  9. What emotions motivate people to take action - to put one brand at the top of the list - to remain in the hearts and minds of the B2B buyer when the final decision is made in the boardroom? For the B2B buyer it is the anticipation of reward, fear of failure, trust, security, reliability, consistency, longevity, belonging, etc. Notice the word “benefits” following each of the 3 parts to positioning. This is very important in that without conveying the benefits, you are not marketing to your customer.
  10. In the commercial, an assertive male voice simply said, “10 out of 12 Healthcare Companies Use Oracle”. The message was targeted at alpha-male CIO-types whose decision to move to or not to move to the Oracle ERP could make or break their career. In not so many words, the message is saying “use Oracle because everyone else is.” Be one of us! Don’t go elsewhere and make the wrong decision and risk your career. A strong message targeting a specific emotion for a specific audience.
  11. Capitalize on this by creating a marketing strategy that strikes at the emotional benefits, and then follow with the functionality.
  12. Initially establishing trust is more valuable than a lot of specs and data. And keep in mind, you only have 8 seconds to capture the attention of a consumer on your website.
  13. How do we inject emotion into your marketing? The ETC Marketing Model. ETC: Easy to remember because it’s etcetera.
  14. The Big E! Sell on emotion. Every technology company needs to be doing more of this. This should be a fundamental component of your brand. Good emotions in marketing that encourage action: trust, excitement, humor, joy, pleasure, awe, sympathy, physical excursion Some negative emotions also encourage action: anger, fear, disgust, distrust Indifferent emotions, and ones you should avoid are: complacent, boredom, disappointment, sadness Relating and association are strong too and allow us to connect our emotions even better. What does your product help the customer accomplish. How will they feel?
  15. This was a case study done by a Social Media app maker, Buffer. 1400 advertising campaigns were sorted based on 3 standards of emotion. Those that were rational (left brain),  emotional (right brain) and those that were a combination of the two (combined). Then the vendors were asked whether the campaign was very profitable. 16% of those with the rational campaign said their campaigns were profitable. But nearly double that at 31% of the vendors with emotional campaigns said they were profitable. Almost double! This also answers the question why videos of babies and kittens get more views on YouTube. Adding emotional benefits to your marketing will resonate with your prospects and lead to increased sales.
  16. Triggers are things in your marketing that help the consumer remember your company or your product. Triggers can be a distinctive design, slogan, logo, name, mascot, format, product...anything that makes your site or product memorable. When you think of the auto insurance provider Geico, what do you think of? Yes, probably the quirky Gekko with the British accent. If you think a bit deeper into your memory, how many of you remember the hilarious Caveman commercials put out by Geico? The slogan was “So easy a caveman can do it.”
  17. The commercials had great popular success and an SNL character was even modeled after him. Unfortunately, the popularity of the commercials did not result in considerable revenue growth and so the advertising agency did some research. After polling viewers of the commercial, they discovered that a large percentage of the audience remembered the commercial well enough but could not remember the company that it was endorsing.[click] So the switch was made to the gekko. Simply because the gekko sounded similar to their company name, Geico and thus the trigger was strong enough and close enough to leave the right impression on a viewer. [click]The Caveman was an ineffective trigger. This example involved major ad campaigns and budget, but something remarkable and memorable about your brand can leave a lasting impression on a buyer.
  18. Does anyone know the “Will It Blend?” campaigns? Blendtec is a manufacturer of a premium blenders. When I say premium, I mean their blenders start at $700 and go as high as $2000. Decades ago, the founder of the company started blending objects in the blender and recording them. I will spare you the details, but the iPhone version where the guy in the lab coat and safety goggles throws an iPhone into the blender until it is crushed to dust, got 12 million views on YouTube. How about... A campaign inviting hackers to try to hack into your servers. Publicize, document, make it fun and informative. What happens when a cable is cut or a server “falls off a shelf”. Document and show what fail-overs or systems are in place in case this happens. Something that is exciting and memorable and has an element of humor, awe, surprise, fear, or any of the emotions that provoke a reaction in people.
  19. When we see a piece of marketing collateral produced by a company, we can make an educated guess at the value of that piece of content. I mean that we associate the actual dollars and cents, and the time and creativity that was put into its production. Simply… its production value. Based on our personal perceived value of a piece of content, we subconsciously transfer that value to the actual product and company.
  20. We have different standards for what level of content production we expect based on our own biases about that industry, product or service. This graph has “Complexity of Service” on the X-axis and “Cost of Service” on the Y-axis. What I am going to do here is plot these services based on our expectation for the level of marketing content. Let’s start with an easy one – Lawn Mowing. The cost of service is low and the service is not complex at all. If a kid dropped off a hand-made flyer in your mail slot, you wouldn’t hesitate to give him a call. In fact, you would commend him for his entrepreneurial spirit! Next, Child Care. It is a more complex than lawn mowing and if you think of your monthly cost, it would fall around here. And finally, a Medical Clinic. Now, operating a medical clinic is extremely complex and the cost can be very high. So we will put Medical clinic around here. Now, let’s look at some business service examples for a SMB. Janitorial Courier Insurance Accountant Consultants And finally, Hosting. Where does hosting fit in this graph? Well, because of the many variations and complexities I cheated a bit here and put hosting somewhere around here. So the hosting sector has roughly the same expected content level as an accountant or insurance provider. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? Now by producing content that is of higher value than expected, you are adding to the value of your brand. That’s the key. Produce high perceive value content. The web allows us to publish content quickly and easily. Unfortunately a lot of bad content gets put up on the web. We know that good content can bring leads. But we sometimes forget that bad content can drive business away. Everything from the visuals, layout and copy on your site are content.
  21. Do you know who does ETC really well? The Insurance industry. Insurance is one of those things that seem commodities based, and only a point of conversation when something goes wrong (sound familiar?). Nobody cares or knows much about their insurers. Your insurance broker helps you make an educated decision at some point, and you basically ride on into the sunset with your policy until “BAM” you get sideswiped in the Walmart parking lot one day. Hmmm...Sounds familiar? The insurance industry has striking similarities to the hosting industry, and we can learn a bit from the tactics the more mature insurance industry leverages. Marketing to emotion. Until a little while ago, the marketing used in insurance was largely based on happy, safe, secure emotions. The retired couple cruising on a boat. The young couple riding mopeds on their honeymoon. The young family buying their first home. I’ve seen a shift in the past few years. Where more companies are targeting the fear emotion. There are the All State commercials touting, “Dollar for dollar, nobody protects you from Mayhem like All State”. Mayhem is played by actor, Dean Winters, and he is the personification of various disasters that could happen in your life. Progressive auto insurance plays on the distrust of insurance companies that has grown over the years, by dispelling some of the limitations and restrictions that the industry has been guilty of. They have made flexibility and options their brand through comical scenarios. The hosting industry can tap into those similar emotions and use the ETC strategies employed by the insurance industry.
  22. Servers may have a soft spot in your heart, but mean nothing to the average person. No emotional impact. Wasted space. People connect to pictures of people. Use people. Not hardware.
  23. Some examples. You decide if these are effective. How they impact you.
  24. 2 more great examples.
  25. If you have a great client with a great success story from using your hosting, then leverage that through a testimonial video. Prospects are way more likely to watch a 2 minute video than to read through a 1000 word case study, so make the investment. There seems to be a trend of lining up the logos of the clients of hosting providers. It’s become so prevalent that they have become “table stakes”.
  26. You are only gaining a small benefit from simply having those logos there.
  27. By investing some time and effort into making your clients prominent, you will gain much more than a logo in your footer. Some great examples.
  28. This takes guts, I know, but be fearless about what your brand really represents.
  29. Some examples.
  30. Remember, people relate to people. We want to see real people to make a connection with a company. If support or custom solutions are your key business competency, then it only makes sense to sell the people who are going to make it happen.
  31. Your People become products. “Fanatical Support” “FirstCall Promise” “Human-Powered Service”
  32. What’s the difference between this slide an the last? Models and over-used obvious stock photos don’t work.
  33. Create a Jargon dictionary of commonly used words in your sector and remove them from your material. Use real words that resonate with the buyer.
  34. Three examples. Which messages resonate with you? Which ones don’t?
  35. Watch this slide for 8 seconds.
  36. Now, I ask you to remember anything remarkable on that last slide. The point of that exercise was to see what 8 seconds feels like. 8 seconds is the amount of time that an average consumer will browse a site to see if it is what they are looking for.
  37. If you don’t currently offer specific products, you likely have some reason why: I can’t offer a solution without knowing the customer’s requirements. I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a provider of a finite set of solutions. The product provides insight into how you service your clients. Address the pain points. Be the trusted advisor.
  38. Here are a few industry examples The Gated Community Cloud – iNetU The AgileCLOUD – Internap The Intelligent Security Model - Firehost
  39. Remember your Buyer is a Consumer. He is the guy at the grocery store buying the bottle of wine for the party. He feels lost, but wants to be “this guy”. Confident and contemplative about his wine purchase. Your buyer wants to be assured he is making the right decision. Doesn’t want to make the wrong decision. Is swayed by emotion. Needs trigger to make the right decision. And values a nice label when he sees it. And at the end of the day, he just wants a nice glass of wine and a pat on the back for selecting the reliable hosting provider that gets the business to the next level.
  40. Total Product Marketing is located in beautiful Vancouver, BC. If you’re ever in Vancouver, please get in touch with us.