A recent report by digital agency Fifty Fifty and Five reveals that Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint product vendors are really starting to up their game when it comes to inbound and digital marketing.
Chris Wright, founder of Social Media Agency Fifty Fifty and Five and one of the reports authors is sharing some details ahead of its official release on November 10th.
If you want to know more, you can order your own free printed copy by signing up here.
By Chris Wright
The report looks at the best 50 companies across the globe. It highlights not only the great work many of these companies are doing, but also contains a wealth of insights into the partner marketing world. Fifty Fifty and Five founder, and one of the reports authors, Chris Wright thinks the report offers some striking trends:
“It was clear from our research that Microsoft is not the only one adopting a brave new strategy for its cloud products and services. Many of the Microsoft partner vendors driving innovation in that sector are also plotting an exciting path when it comes to digital marketing. Satya Nadella has a clear new vision for Microsoft, it seems his partner network is greatly enthused by this and upping their own sales and marketing efforts”
A wealth of industry insights
The report features analysis by industry ventures both within and outside of the Microsoft world.
Dharmesh Shah, co-founder at HubSpot saw lots he like in the Microsoft partner network:
“This report is a testament to some of the great work these companies are doing. B2B technology can be a difficult sell, with long sales cycles and an inherent caution from buyers. Inbound marketing can play a huge role in successful marketing and sales.”
Microsoft SharePoint MVP and Microsoft industry veteran Christian Buckley thinks that a lot of good partner marketing is down to hard work:
“The hard truth behind successful content marketing is that it is really difficult. It takes time, it needs the right person or team, and it requires consistency. When done right, content marketing can increase good-will and brand recognition. If provided consistently, it can translate into trust, influence, and authority – and can then extend and elevate the value of your more traditional marketing activities in measurable ways, such as improved open rates on email campaigns, increased web traffic, and improved conversion rates from lead to opportunity.”
Sharegate, one of the Microsoft partners featured in the top 50 have taken a deliberately off beat approach to their marketing success. Their Chief Marketing Officer told us:
“When Simon [De Baene, Sharegate CEO] began the company, he really had this idea to differentiate ourselves. So much IT marketing is so dull, and with Sharegate we wanted to do something different. First of all, we wanted to put the team on the front line – we wanted the people who build Sharegate to feature in our marketing. Because, in today’s world, people don’t just buy software, they buy a brand and a company and I think Simon’s bet paid off.
Most companies just do boring stuff; nobody creates funny videos [like our ‘life should be damn simple’ series] and that’s something very specific to us which differentiates us from our competitors. So far we’ve done two series of videos and we’ll start filming part three in October , with 8 ‘episodes’ for release before Christmas. These are going to feature SharePoint and Office 365 influencers and they’ll be in the same humorous style as the previous two series.”
Nintex, also featured in the report, worked hard to tie the real world with the digital world. Russ Mann from Nintex told us about their ‘digital war room’ for a recent Microsoft trade show:
“Nintex sent over 70 employees to WPC and set up a ‘digital war room’ back at our head office in Seattle. Our digital team were prepared to respond to any Tweet, photo or opportunity to increase coverage, grabbing any opportunities that arose:
- When senior Microsoft execs stopped by our stand, we took pictures and these were instantly shared on social media.
- We worked with other Microsoft partners – tweeting and retweeting one another’s events.
- Our digital team fed any useful information right back to the team at WPC.”
The Chief Marketing Officer at Dropbox also had some good insights for Microsoft partners:
“For social marketing it’s important to have presence on a range of different channels. When you’re marketing in any kind of media, and even more so in social media, your credibility comes from being seen as knowledgeable around that particular topic area, and also being genuinely helpful to your readers. That’s about sharing insights and creating interesting connections between different topics. There’s a lot of information out there; you have to be driven by images, you have to be short, easy to digest and offer actionable information that people will be keen to check out.”
Get your own copy
You can get your own free printed edition of the report by signing up over at their Inbound Marketing Excellence page. The report tis officially launched on the 10th of November, when the 50 Microsoft partners will find out for the first time where they rank. Check back next week when we will have more.