- Without ranking your work, it’s difficult to measure your progress
- See where you are in relation to your peers
- Find out about essential Microsoft Partner marketing tools
At Fifty Five and Five, we also help Microsoft partners improve their marketing efforts by producing the annual Inbound Marketing Excellence report, which uses independent tools to analyse the blogs, websites and Twitter feeds of partners. The report analyses the marketing efforts of the Microsoft Partner Network to create a picture of who is doing the best inbound marketing across the Microsoft Partner network – the top 1% of Microsoft Partner marketers. Each year, we launch our top 50 report at Microsoft Inspire – Microsoft’s awesome annual event for its channel partners.
But why do we produce a ranking of Microsoft Partner marketing?
Basically, when it’s not used for quantifying the funniest cat pictures of the week, ranking can be very helpful indeed. Other than feeling envious while reading the Times’ annual rich list, rankings can help us choose where to study, decide where to work or where’s best to go on holiday (it’s London, in case you were wondering).
But what can you get from ranking your own Microsoft Partner marketing efforts? Well, here’s a list of five benefits you get from doing so.
1. It’s a benchmark of your progress
Without ranking your work, it’s difficult to measure your progress; you can’t see how far you’ve come, whether you’ve improved or maybe even declined in certain areas. A ranking provides a basic, objective score against which you can compare how you’re doing today with how you were doing 12 months ago. For instance, the report we’re releasing this July is the second in our series (it has, admittedly, expanded in scope to include more than ten times the number of ranked Microsoft partners compared to last year), and this means partners who were in the first report can compare how their scores for blogging, social media activity and website content measure up.
Fundamentally, this kind of information can help you make decisions. If you see you are not as strong as you’d like to be in a certain area, a ranking can be the catalyst that pushes you to improve on it.
2. You can take inspiration from the best
When performed correctly, a ranking should independently and objectively provide a rating of who is doing the activity in question the best. It is then possible for others, who want to improve on their own efforts, to see ‘what good looks like’ and draw inspiration from those who are really excelling.
In our report last year, Canadian firm Sharegate came top for their marketing (just to clarify, this ranking is based purely on marketing quality – we don’t rank or pass judgement on anyone’s products or services). This isn’t just so Sharegate’s marketing team can pat themselves on the back – other marketers in the Microsoft Partner network can then analyse what Sharegate is doing, and take inspiration from their approach.
In the top 50 report, we have provided a detailed analysis of our take on all the Microsoft Partner marketing efforts in the top 10, and additional insights from the rest of the 50 too. This can help marketers learn from the best.
3. A ranking is independent and objective
When you’re an ‘insider’ it’s hard to view what you’re doing objectively. This applies to almost anything in life – from how you’re doing with your studies to who’s making the most effort to clean the house. We all have a bias to presume we’re doing more than we necessarily are, and fail to size our efforts up neutrally and objectively.
A ranking should do just this. To create our top 50, we scoured the websites, blog posts and social feeds of more than 25,000 partners and fed them through independent, neutral tools (MAYA for blogs, Kred for Twitter and Sitebeam for websites). These rankings provide a neutral, unbiased and objective view of the quality of each partner’s marketing efforts.
4. Some healthy competition
Who doesn’t like a bit of healthy competition? Seeing where we are in relation to our peers can motivate us to work harder and try our best to improve our scores for next time. Perhaps most importantly, by becoming aware of how others are doing, a ranking can push everyone to be better and produce even higher quality output.
If partners in the Microsoft network are inspired to create even better marketing materials than they are now, everyone wins! Inbound marketing is repeatedly proven to increase sales leads – so the more (and higher quality) marketing materials you produce, the higher you’ll appear in our ranking. But, more importantly, you’ll also increase the number of leads coming through your online channels.
5. Recognition for the best marketers
As we’ve analysed the websites, blogs and social feeds of Microsoft partner marketing, we’ve been consistently impressed by the high standard of their marketing efforts. Everyone in our ranking deserves a lot of recognition – they made it into the top 1% of the network!
The top 50 highlights the brilliant efforts made for Microsoft Partner marketing by Microsoft enterprise IT partners. In the end, this list is all about giving credit where it’s due – so well done to everyone who’s made the list.