Top 50 Inbound Marketing Report: Rising star interview with RedPixie

  • RedPixie jumped from 89th in our 2016 marketing report into the top 25 this year
  • We interviewed Mitchell Feldman, CDO at RedPixie to find out what they've been doing 
  • Learn how RedPixie's 'smarketing' and their new YouTube channel help drive leads

The July release of our 2017 Inbound Marketing Excellence Report, which ranks Microsoft partner companies on the quality of their digital marketing, is fast approaching. In the lead up to the report, we took a look at last year’s results to see which Microsoft partners have done especially well and shot up our rankings for 2017.

RedPixie, one of Europe’s largest cloud providers, ranked 89th in 2016’s report (which is impressive in itself, given we analysed a pool of over 25,000 partners last year). This year, they’ve done even better, shooting up the report to a much higher position.

We spoke with Mitchell Feldman, Chief Digital Officer at RedPixie to find out the secret to their inbound marketing success and how they’ve structured their marketing in 2017.

So, this year RedPixie have made a huge jump in the Top 50 report– congratulations! Is there anything that your marketing team has done differently from last year?

Mitchell: In the past, we historically spoke a lot about what we do and why we do it; there had never really been a focus on the customer. Now we’ve completely pivoted, and the focus is less on us, more on the customer.

To make sure we got the right message, we had to understand a number of things: what the customers are looking for, their pain points, and what they expected the language of a partner to be. We completely rewrote how we spoke to our customers, and we were mindful that most, if not all our customers were doing research before they even engaged with us. We wanted to ensure that they could get as much as information as they needed to authenticate us and satisfy themselves that we were the right partner for them before they engaged with us.

This year, has there been any particular focus or any areas you’ve given more attention to in your marketing strategy?

Mitchell: Historically, while the company had had a marketing effort, it was largely based on what the marketing team wanted, rather than the needs of the company and the customer.

Now, however, we are very much subscribed to what we call ‘smarketing’ - joining up sales and marketing. This ‘smarketing’ was a company initative with stakeholder interviews, reviewing work that we had won (and lost), and understanding why we had won it, and really getting 360 feedback from everyone in the business.

Our mantra was to build an eco-system, which assumes that if the customer isn’t coming to us, we will go to where they are. I wholeheartedly believe that telemarketing as it traditionally was is dead. It certainly gave off the wrong persona of us as a business, so we wanted to create a mechanism that allowed us to self-generate leads. We realised things like SEO and communicating the vibrancy of the business through social was very much the way forward.

Another significant thing we’ve done this year is to verticalise. As most of our customers are in financial services and insurance, we made a brave decision to only focus on these people. So rather than doing what we did before, which I suppose was just ‘spray and pray’, we’re much more laser focused. We know we have over 250 addressable customers and because of that, our marketing has become much more targeted and effective.

Social selling is now sewn into the DNA of RedPixie and all of our sales team are measured from a sales perspective on their SSI (Social Selling Index), which we’ve done for the past six months as part of the teams’ KPIs. Everyone uses LinkedIn Sales Navigator to create and share content and establish relationships with prospects both known and unknown. We call this ‘digitally schmoozing’.

In my opinion, marketing is much more than lead creation, and in fact, the primary focus for us as a business is to use our marketing prowess to help underpin opportunities we are currently working on. That said we get approximately 15 leads per week from our website and 50% of those come from our social media audience.

Has there been anything that RedPixie have done this year that you’re particularly proud of?

Mitchell: Ensuring that we have a platform that allows us to have a single pane of glass to help us understand the customer journey from a data perspective. When a customer does eventually enquire, we can see their entire journey, whether it’s through reading a blog, or social posting, right through to when they enquire, which is the nurturing process.

So, we’ve created a series of whitepapers, which are almost a ‘honey pot’, which we populate into our marketing channels. Everything is gated, and we’re sending prospects on that nurture journey from research to enquiry. Since we started doing this, we have seen not only better quality opportunities, we’ve also seen a higher spend per customer.

We’ve moved away from that ‘commodity’ place, and rather than buying us on the price, customers are buying on the quality of our services. It’s a much deeper and more pragmatic engagement that’s aligned to the way we work.

Another thing we launched this year is PixieTV, our YouTube channel. It’s currently very embryonic, and we’re still learning. It’s no secret that video is king, and that’s why we’ve started to invest in it. We’re sharing our knowledge, ‘opening our kimono’ if you like, and giving away a little more. Rather than being ‘cloak and dagger’ about what we’re doing, we’re highly transparent and we’re not afraid to share our thoughts and opinions.

I mean, seven years ago, when we moved into the Cloud, people thought we were crazy! Once it became mainstream, we prevailed as expert leaders. We’re going on a similar journey with PixieTV: I think when it comes to business leader videos, it’s still quite immature, and a lot of them are high level. That said, we want PixieTV videos to be informational, change the way people are thinking, and how they can deliver business cases to the C-suite

For RedPixie what do you find brings in the most leads? And of all your marketing channels, what elements bring in the biggest ROI?

Mitchell: LinkedIn is the ‘Northern Star’ of all the social channels we invest in. The journey goes from the private individual profile to company profile, to website, to the nurture journey. That will grow as our reach grows, and now we’ve hit that tipping point and a critical mass of 10k followers, it’s starting to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some of our social activities have reached over 4M users in one post!

It’s a lot of hard work. We’re fixated on the consistency of the brand across all the channels, even down to making sure everyone has the same profiles.

We’re not afraid to give our opinions and say why. We’ve become subject matter expects, we’re open with our views, and we’re now much more accessible for different audiences. As a result of this pivot, we’ve given birth to our first million dollar baby – a lead from social media that has become a $1M customer.

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A big thank you to Mitchell for sharing RedPixie’s digital marketing journey with us, and congratulations to the team for making such a huge improvement. To learn more about how you can improve your digital marketing, read our marketing blogs, or contact us today.

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Where did you rank in the Top 50 report?

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how to promote GDPR service

Here's how to do marketing for your GDPR service that generates more leads

  • Microsoft partners are well placed to help customers adapt to the GDPR
  • Are you letting your customers know about your GDPR service?
  • We're here to help B2B tech companies market their expertise in GDPR

By the time you read this, the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be less than six months away. With major fines for failing to comply, many businesses are finally waking up to the fact they need to get GDPR compliant, and they're looking for IT companies with expertise in the topic that can help. If you have a GDPR service, this is a huge opportunity to win a lot of new business in the short term, but also for years to come.

Marketing your GRPR service, and letting your customers know what you do is essential. You need to know how to communicate your GDPR service to potential and existing customers in a way that makes them choose you over the many other companies offering GDPR compliance services.

Knowledge is power

While the GDPR will most certainly present a challenge for your customers, there also lies an opportunity for smart technology providers. For example, if your business specialises in data protection—whether through protection software, management policies or user training—you are well-positioned to help companies avoid the GDPR's huge fines.

And here at Fifty Five and Five, we have written countless blogs, whitepapers, eBooks and magazine articles for tech companies who want to tell the world about their GDPR service.

Make sure people know about your GDPR service

Because we exclusively offer digital marketing services to B2B tech companies, we understand the variety of products and services you offer. So when it comes to GDPR compliance, we know about  and understand the technologies and services you sell that can bolster your customers’ security.

Specialise in Governance & compliance?

Accountability and transparency over personal data have always been implicit requirements of data protection laws, but the GDPR is focused on raising their significance. Businesses are expected to employ comprehensive governance measures proportionate to their size, as tools like Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) will become a legal requirement and businesses must not just comply, but demonstrate compliance. The demonstration may include hiring data protection policies, implementing data minimisation, psuedonymisation or appointing a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

How we could market your Governance and Compliance GDPR service

We can produce:

  • Blogs showing how your business helps customers ensure data doesn’t go missing or get accessed by the wrong people
  • Snackable videos that show how deploying compliance policies keeps customers safe
  • Whitepapers and eBooks that explain how customers can better govern their content

Offer data protection software or services?

There is, of course, no ‘fix-all’ when it comes to software that can guarantee complete security of your customers’ businesses. But deploying a set of tools to secure content holistically is your next best bet. Tools like firewalls, internet gateways, and malware protection defend personal data around the clock, while managed security services like secure configuration and access control take the security burden off your customers’ shoulders.

How we could market your data protection GDPR service

We can:

  • Produce infographics detailing which security measures will be the most applicable to your customers
  • Write step-by-step guides to avoiding a potential data breach
  • Run memorable email campaigns that educate people about the tech they need

Offer user training or GDPR compliance certifications?

Technology aside, addressing the ‘human’ aspect of compliance is just as important. Human error is at the heart of most data breaches, and that usually stems from a lack of understanding or misuse of IT. The good news is that these are easily fixed. Training users about personal information, individuals’ rights, consent, and documentation will all provide practical experience to employees in the tools they use every day. The sooner they can get training done, the less nervous your client's customer will be when the GDPR comes around.

How we could market your user training or certification GDPR service

We help you by:

Educate customers about your GDPR service

The first (and perhaps biggest) step towards GDPR compliance for your customers is awareness. We can write a ‘GDPR overview’ blog post/whitepaper/e-book to inform your audience of the regulation’s details. The content would explain:

  • What is the GDPR?
  • When is it coming?
  • Who and what does the regulation apply to?
  • What do they need to do to prepare?
  • How your service helps

Introductory-level content like this will not only help your potential customers get fully up to speed with the GDPR, but can let them know that you are there to help.

We helped awesome B2B tech company bluesource market their GDPR compliance assessments. Read more here

Market your GDPR service to win countless new customers

A huge proportion of companies still don’t have a plan in place to become compliant with the new law. There’s only a few months left before the GDPR comes into effect, and so you are perfectly placed to help customers implement a plan to adapt by using your GDPR service. So, are you ready to let them know?

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Want help telling customers about what you do?

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Partner of the year award winner

Microsoft Partner of the Year Award: advice on winning with Modality Systems

  • Interview with Ian Guest, Head of Marketing at Modality Systems
  • Modality Systems were named 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year for communications
  • Advice and tips for partners entering for a Microsoft Partner of the Year award

Now the deadline for Microsoft Partner of the Year Award entries has closed, and in anticipation for the winners and finalists announcement at Inspire this year, we interviewed Ian Guest from Modality Systems—winners of the Microsoft Partner of the Year Communications Award 2016—to find out more about what goes into constructing the perfect Partner Award entry.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Ian. There are many Microsoft Partner of the Year award categories—how did you decide on which award category to enter?

Ian: Each year Microsoft make changes to the awards process. Some changes are subtle in terms of the information required, while others are more major in the form of new categories. As we do every year, once Microsoft has issued their guidelines for what they are looking for, we look globally to see what projects we have done and which category they fit best.

Can you give us an outline of the Microsoft Partner of the Year Award entry you selected?

Ian: As a Gold Partner for Communications and Cloud Productivity specialising in Skype for Business, the Communications Partner of the Year Award was an obvious standout for us. We selected a US client, technology company Aruba as our focus story and began detailing the project.

The project itself was migrating them to Skype for Business with a wireless infrastructure for all their users, which was around 4,000 in total. The drivers were to improve collaboration, focus on the use of technology and an element of cost savings. Aruba were using a lot of conferencing type servers, a PBX with lots of legacy types in a traditionally ‘wired’ environment. Making the switch to a wireless infrastructure, with handsets and wireless telephones, saved them about one-third of the cost per desktop. We wanted something innovative, and going into a completely wireless environment emphasised the flexibility of Skype for Business.

And in terms of the award entry itself, what measures did you take to give you the best chance at winning?

Ian: We knew the story needed to demonstrate a good return and business case, something that had measurable and tangible results to highlight the value. It also had to be aligned with Microsoft’s message, plus in our example, we wanted to incorporate more than just the technology. We were keen to pull through user adoption which is all about getting users to consume the technology, as that’s a key factor in delivering success and makes the whole story into a ‘business’ story, so to speak.

It was quite a compelling story really, and Microsoft got quite involved with sharing the story as well.

So, having won an award, what do you think are the main benefits of being a Microsoft Partner of the Year?

Ian: Credibility in the market is one of the key things. The Microsoft Partner space is so big, there are so many Partners saying that they can do ‘it’ in every industry and niche, having the Gold sticker for partner competencies sometimes isn’t enough.

As a winning partner, it’s great to say that we’re in the top tier. It raises your credibility to prospects as well as your profile in the Microsoft World which is very valuable. Microsoft are an incredibly important part of our business and being able to support the Microsoft teams with achieving their targets is key. We pride ourselves on being a trusted pair of hands and delivery partner, so having the recognition of the award just helps reinforce the point.

These awards definitely raise your profile in the Microsoft ecosystem. That’s true of Inspire in general, but award-winners get additional opportunities to network with the Microsoft senior team members and learn from all their knowledge and expertise.

And what were some of the benefits you receive from Microsoft for winning the award?

Ian: Again, it’s all about that credibility coming from Microsoft themselves. We get the plaque to say that Modality were Microsoft Partner of the Year Communications award winners, which gives us great kudos. With that carries the prestige that says you’re one of Microsoft’s ‘chosen’ partners.

Did Modality enter again this year?

Ian: Yes, we have entered this year, back into the Communications category, and we've also entered a couple of other categories as part of the Consortium. The submission we’ve put in this year is slightly different than last year, and I think there was one or two additional competencies, which reflect Microsoft’s current objectives.

That sounds like a lot of work! How do you keep on top of multiple award entries?

Ian: It can be quite a lot of effort, but we tend to use the skills of a trusted freelance writer who has worked with us for the past three years. Outsourcing can prove really helpful providing you go with the right people who understand the Microsoft process, have links within Microsoft and understand which buttons to press, particularly from a writing point of view. We scope out what we want to pull out from this story and it’s the preparation that you put into the briefing that really determines its success.

There haven’t been many partners who have won consecutive years for the same category if any. But we're hoping we’ve gone into this again with a winning formula.

And for any other partners thinking of putting themselves forward as Microsoft Partner of the Year, do you have any advice?

Ian: There a number of things to consider:

  • Being selective as to what case study you use and using a case that can tick the Microsoft strategy boxes is important. It’s important to tangibly quantify the stats with a customer who can support it. Fundamentally, it’s about getting the right people on board, and if you’re outsourcing your award entry like I mentioned, you need to work with people who understand what you’re doing.
  • For those partners who have broader offerings, they can enter for multiple awards categories, as well as entering the same submission for different categories. But that doesn’t mean you should enter as many as possible in the hopes that one of them will get the job done. Always remember to make sure your award submission is appropriate and applicable to the category you’re entering for.

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We want to thank Ian Guest for taking the time to explain how Modality Systems were successful in entering the Microsoft Partner of Award, and sharing some insights into the winning recipe for Partners.

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Do you want help writing a Microsoft Partner of the Year entry? Or need help with your Microsoft Marketing?

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