Since Fifty Five and Five was founded in 2014, we’ve worked extensively with Microsoft’s partner companies and with Microsoft itself. It’s no secret that during the agency’s early years, we soon made our name as ‘the Microsoft marketing experts’ – a badge we still wear with pride today. Although we’ve diversified and expanded our client list a great deal since then, we’ll always be glad to be part of Microsoft’s world.
Developing a relationship with one of the big players in the tech landscape can do wonders for your business. It can open an entirely new horizon of opportunities, paving your organisation’s path to future growth and success. In this article, I’ll explore the best ways to go about doing that.
The value of partner networks
If you want to get closer to one of the industry’s heavy hitters, the first thing you can do is to look at all the other companies who’ve done so. Partner networks such as the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) are full of organisations who had the same goal as you have now. Partner with Microsoft or another tech titan and it can be the start of a highly beneficial arrangement – for both parties.
Whether they’re reselling a big brand’s products and services or providing something new that fits into that brand’s ecosystem, partner network members bring their own value to the bigger company’s table. And, in exchange, they receive access to new connections with other partners and affiliates, valuable partner-only resources as well as other benefits. More than enough reasons to hitch your wagon to an industry leader.
Making the most of your network membership
Ok, so you’re a partner network member. Now what? It’s time to double down and develop your relationship with the brand even further. You need to demonstrate even greater value and invest even further in cementing your place in this new ecosystem you’re now a part of.
> Tailor your product or service
In our experience, the tech giants love it when one of their partners creates a new piece of intellectual property (IP) that uses their technology, extends their tools or accelerates customers’ ability to adopt their technology.
So, if your product or service can be shaped to do any or all of those things, that will set you in very good stead for a better and closer relationship. You may identify a valuable gap in the market that will appeal to customers within the brand’s ecosystem, as well as your fellow partners – they may want to resell your solution, for instance. Making the right moves here can be a very good – and profitable – thing for everyone.
> Focus your marketing efforts
When you partner with Microsoft or another big-league brand, your partner status and relationships can be very beneficial to your marketing efforts – but only if you devote enough focus and energy to them. If you’re experts in the big brand’s technology, make sure your customers know that. If you’re a ‘gold partner’, for instance, then don’t just stop at putting a logo in your email signatures – shout it from the rooftops.
Microsoft and other brands take partner marketing very seriously, and they provide resources and funds to network members who want to broadcast the merits of their service or solution. So, whatever resources and guidance are available to you: seize them with both hands. They have the potential to boost your marketing efforts a huge amount.
Succeeding with partner marketing and growing the relationship
There is a hurdle that can stand in the way of your organisation really making the most of its partner network membership and taking your relationship with the brand as far as you want it to go. Here it is:
As mentioned, the most successful tech brands take marketing very seriously indeed. They pay great attention to the intricacies of their branding, for instance – it’s part of how they achieved their success and intend to continue it. They’re likely to have a whole raft of strict guidelines that need to be adhered to, laid out across a sometimes bewildering array of documentation. They are also likely to have defined and documented very specific marketing messaging that’s been carefully developed and will need to be reflected in all your promotional activities as a partner.
If your marketing materials don’t hit the mark, they’ll be out of sync with wider campaigns, won’t resonate with customers, and won’t paint a very good picture of your business for your high-flying partner. If it’s too far off the mark, your partner may even reject a proposed marketing campaign or asset entirely – or you could end up mired in endless revisions as you bring it up to scratch. That’s how seriously big technology brands take these matters. Trust us, we know.
So, how can you ensure you’ll avoid all the pitfalls and succeed?
Stay on-message and on-brand with the right partner marketing strategy
By working with a marketing agency that knows the brand well, they can help you meet all the requirements every time. They’ll help you define and follow a partner marketing strategy that will satisfy all parties – and deliver the best results. You can rest assured that everything you do will fit neatly into your partner’s ecosystem, with all the correct branding and messaging, as well as aligning with your organisation’s own wider strategic and marketing goals.
This kind of marketing agency can be an accelerator for long-term growth and success, helping you to nurture your most important relationships—including your technology partners. Ultimately, that may be one of the most valuable aspects of our work.
Interested in building your relationship with a technology giant such as Microsoft, or perhaps you want to grow in a particular market? Get in touch with the team at Fifty Five and Five today.