@mel_unwin , https://www.linkedin.com/in/melanieunwin/

As Director of Microsoft Partner company Mogrify, I’d like to share a story of partnership success that is both important and relevant.

Australian company Bistech was looking to evolve their marketing efforts. They had previously focused on a tactical marketing approach where they were running multiple one-off marketing campaigns. While these campaigns did generate some leads, they were concerned about sustaining longer-term results. In response, Bistech took on a complete review of their approach, one that is familiar to many other partner companies. In doing so, they began to understand that there were fundamental changes to buyers of technology research and procure technology and that their marketing initiatives needed to realign with this change.

Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

The Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2016 – and its Modern Marketing stream – proved to be a definite turning point for them. Content marketing and the concept of Always-on Marketing was familiar to the Bistech team, but it wasn’t until they heard about it in the context of the B2B buyer’s journey that the seeds were firmly planted for their new marketing process.

These tactics made sense for Bistech. When only a small percentage of customers are ready to buy, what conversations are you having with the rest of the market? When customers are beginning their buying process, how are you building relationships and establishing trust by educating them and helping to solve their problems?

“Mogrify’s ‘Buyer RACER’ really resonated with us. We realized we were mostly having late buyer journey conversations and were not engaging buyers early enough in their buying process. It also cemented in our minds the fact that buyers of technology do a huge amount of their research online before engaging with suppliers, and we were concerned whether or not we were being found. What we believed we needed to do was create ongoing conversations with our target market by creating compelling and targeted content and get it seen by the right people over a longer period of time. We wanted to change tact from running ad-hoc, product-focused campaigns to focus more on marketing along the buyer journey.”

– Brad Culbert, Executive Director, Bistech

Finding the Right Partner

Another key message from the conversations Bistech had with Mogrify was that B2B marketing is a team sport. The concept is a simple one but it can be a challenge to implement if you don’t have a dedicated marketing resource to get you started. The team needed to look externally for support – but with a fresh approach.

Brad Culbert, Executive Director of Bistech had this to say, “We selected Mogrify as our marketing partner. They spoke to us about our business strategy and their Marketing-as-a-Service offering, which aligns with the new ways buyers research and procure technology – establishing the continuous marketing engine which we knew we needed.”

Together with Bistech, we decided to focus on their Retail Defender platform. The platform, based on Azure Data Analytics services and capabilities, provides Retail based loss prevention stakeholders with the tools to automate the identification of suspicious activity across their network of stores. I believe that what Bistech has created with their Retail Defender platform is really smart. Rather than trying to be “everything” to “everyone” like many partners, they have productized and verticalized one of their offerings, which can be marketed much more efficiently and effectively.

The Game Plan

Our approach at Mogrify is one with a long-term focus but providing short-term gain. With an initial review of Bistech’s existing marketing assets and a review of its business priorities, we were better able to understand how a move to this modernized marketing approach could boost their bottom line.

Over the years the business had created various product brands, micro-sites, and associated content. The objective of creating a cohesive narrative, once a campaign was over and re-using assets created, presented its challenges.

Once we took a strategic look at Bistech’s challenges and goals, we laid out the foundation for a modern marketing transformation. The initial program for Retail Defender included a rebranding effort and the creation of a new website, an animated video series, blog articles, a partnership with a leading industry association, social media, content advertising and amplification.

Key Takeaways and Lessons Learned

While the relationship between our two companies has only been in place for a few months, already Bistech is heralding a cultural change within the organization around how people perceive marketing, not to mention some early leads. On the Mogrify side, we are thrilled for our team to have been exposed to a forward-thinking partner blazing the trail in fields such as data analytics and advanced analytics.

Brad said, “The great thing is that the leads we have already received have been right within our target market. It’s early days but we are really pleased with the new direction we have taken with our marketing. We are now communicating to the market in a meaningful way because we have taken the time to understand their purchasing behavior.”

In terms of advice to other partners, Brad says that keeping up-to-date with your buyers is key. He said, “Once we acknowledged that the majority of buyer research takes place before we even hear about the opportunity, we were able to evolve our marketing efforts to talk to buyers much earlier on in their buying process through thought-leadership content and regularly distributing information to remain top of mind”.

We believe that it’s essential to be able to recognize when it’s time to try something new to generate different results. When it comes to marketing, many partners are using the same old strategies that just don’t work in our modern work environment. Particularly in the B2B space, you need to look at your processes and see what you can improve on.

The Microsoft Perspective

Rob Evans, Senior Partner Marketing Advisor for Apps and Infrastructure in Microsoft Australia said, “I have been observing the Mogrify and Bistech engagement with great interest and have been really pleased to see Bistech’s marketing transformation with Mogrify. The ways buyers buy technology has fundamentally changed, therefore, the way partners market their services need to reflect this.”

How have you experienced similar marketing transformations? What advice would you give other partners looking to do the same? Share your thoughts with the Microsoft Partner Community here.