Marketing for systems integration? How’s that done?

Marketing for systems integration? How’s that done?
With the security industry continuing to grow at a rapid pace worldwide, demand for systems integration is expected to remain strong. However, with an increase in competition, systems integrators (SIs) should be able to market themselves well to reach their customers.

According to David Morgan, Co-Founder, and VP of Security Dealer Marketing, for a sustained growth strategy, marketing aligned with your sales strategy is a very powerful combination. Why just chase business when marketing can help to not only generate awareness but also create inbound leads for your security business?

Morgan, who has worked with hundreds of small and large SIs, added that being a large company doesn’t mean your marketing is better. For example, there’s a top 10 SI that uses a personal profile for their LinkedIn company page, he said.

“Grow by contracting rather than just positioning yourself as a generalist, focus on vertical markets,” Morgan said. “How many times are your end-user customers cold-called by other security companies or other services soliciting them? If you are perceived as an expert, leads will come to you without you having to chase them. Your website must have a section(s) that communicates you understand a challenge that a particular vertical market faces as well as how you’ve solved it. Also, create case studies, whitepapers, etc. which position you as the leader in that particular market.”

You can purchase lead lists and create content that is specific to them to send out monthly e-newsletters. That same lead list can be uploaded to Facebook and LinkedIn. The users that are associated with the social accounts, can be custom lists that can be marketed towards.

“Believe it or not having an occasional postcard will be the icing on the cake,” Morgan added. “Remember the sales cycle of an integrator is typically a long one. We must be top of mind and using this omnichannel approach will keep you top of mind and chances are your competitors aren’t deploying these tactics.”

Is digital marketing important for SIs?

Needless to say, digital marketing is not something SIs are too strong at. Some may attribute this to the nature of the work, but marketing should ideally be focused on where your customers spent time.

“Both digital and traditional marketing are both very important to the success of an integrator,” Morgan said. “With the advancement of technology, and more importantly, where integrator’s end user customers spend their time, dictates where you should invest your marketing budget, time, and efforts. We believe your approach should consist of both digital and traditional marketing. Depending on the vertical you are focused on will dictate whether it's 70/30, 80/20, or 90/10 split digital vs traditional. The case for digital includes social media - LinkedIn and Facebook as examples are huge untapped options.”

Yes, Facebook wasn’t a typo. Remember, three out of four Americans are on Facebook including your end-user prospects. Facebook, as an example, knows more about us than perhaps our spouse or the significant other. Not only can you get your message in front of your exact demographics to develop awareness for pennies on the dollar, but you can also generate leads without users even having to go to your website.

Another digital channel is email marketing. Creating valuable content that positions you as the thought leader will help get your emails read and will catapult the perception of your security company. Creating content is very time-consuming and challenging. Leverage your manufacturers, trade associations and even publications so that you don’t have to create content from scratch for all of your content marketing.

“Another underutilized tactic is called retargeting,” Morgan added. “You may not be familiar with it by name, but everyone has experienced it. Buy anything from Amazon? I do too, almost daily. Most of the time when I go to Amazon I buy something but once in a while, I don't. When that happens, that product follows me all over the Internet. That is retargeting. Remember that only a small percentage of website users actually engage by picking up the phone or filling out a form. That’s where retargeting comes into play.”

Since integrators have long sales cycles, remaining at top of the customer’s mind is a must. Since retargeted ads are based on your website traffic and since most integrators don’t have much website traffic, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend over US$100 per month. The publishers you’ll want to work with are Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and even possibly Yahoo.
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