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Cloud Service Providers – Time To Master the Multi-Channel Marketing Challenge

cloudsIt’s no secret that businesses are adopting cloud services at an increasing rate.  It would even seem that we are now at the tipping point in cloud implementation where the conversation is changing from concern about a new way of operating to enthusiasm for a better way of operating.

A consequence of this is an ever-increasing number of companies with a collection of cloud implementations.  Perhaps some parts of the organization are running SaaS solutions like Salesforce and Google Apps, while there are applications and storage hosted by a IaaS providers like AWS or Rackspace.

The proliferation of this *aaS alphabet soup will quickly change the internal discussion from “how do we make this work?” to “how do we make this work together?”

As the market evolves, the issues of technical integration, access integration, and management integration will become increasingly important evaluation criteria for buyers.

Cloud service providers we’ve worked with have put great effort into understanding and addressing buyers’ performance and security concerns, but the focus has been largely on the CSP’s environment.  Integration issues have typically been secondary concerns.  As integration issues become more important, there are implications for how cloud service providers sell themselves to customers.

So, how will enterprises deal with multi-cloud implementations?

Many large enterprises will likely have the internal resources to manage multi-cloud implementations.  The good news is that the decision-makers won’t change, so relationships cultivated by sales teams will still be relevant.   But the buyers’ requirements and purchase criteria will certainly evolve to where integration and management issues become more important attributes.

Many others will elect to outsource that integration and management to an emerging collection of cloud brokerages.  These cloud brokerages are generally analogous to VARs and system integrators (in fact, many of them may very well end up being today’s VARs and system integrators), so a framework to understand how to deal with them exists.

However, they are still a new channel that many cloud service providers haven’t had to really deal with to date, as most market directly to their users.  Learning how to price and market in a multi-channel world will become necessary to succeed in the marketplace.

Regardless of which of the two management trends ends up dominating in the next few years, the rapid adoption of multi-cloud implementations will create a new challenge (or opportunity) for cloud service providers.

The best way to be on the opportunity side of the coin is to develop a good understanding of how (or if) buyers are developing multi-cloud integration strategies today. 

What you learn will help you adjust technical development, pricing, and marketing to match where the market is going.

Doing it today means you will be that much further ahead of your competitors and, quite possibly, could put you in a position to influence the direction of the entire conversation.

So why not talk to buyers?  You’ll be well-prepared…and likely ahead of your competitors.

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