Channel companies have always known the importance of having a point of difference, or as marketers like to call it, a unique selling point.
But this need has taken on greater significance in recent times, for several reasons. It’s a need that has been evidenced by a greater tendency among resellers, distributors and vendors wanting to tell us their story and spell out what they really stand for.
One company to undergo in-depth navel gazing in the past couple of months is services company Maclean. The firm identified consolidation as a key market trend and one that has prompted many players to lay claim to a particular space in the industry.
For Maclean, this was Auckland’s mid-market. For others, it’s small businesses or the enterprise, a particular vertical segment, development on a given technology platform, a close association with one or two vendors, or serving a region few others serve.
Consolidation causes uncertainty for acquirers and those who have been acquired, and offers new possibilities to competitors. In this environment, customers and potential customers must know what to expect if they enlist a particular firm’s services or select its products.
In addition, any company’s culture is inevitably influenced by its staff. Recent consolidation has resulted in greater movement of personnel among firms in the channel, and this means companies must be able to spell out what they offer to workers considering a range of employment options.
It is no surprise in this climate, either, that vendors are encouraging partners to specialise in particular verticals.
A case in point is Magnetism’s search for offerings that will help the company serve its health sector client base in Northland. Not only are healthcare industry customers aware this is a company they can deal with in the region, but partners know they can collaborate with Magnetism to serve this sector.
The shift to cloud computing is also driving companies to review their core strategies and audiences. As firms seek to capitalise on technology hype surrounding the cloud, they risk moving away from other specialisations they have built their business on over the years.
In a post-recessionary climate, firms are rebuilding resources and priorities where these will be allocated. This is a prime opportunity to tell customers where your company’s more unique strengths lie.
It is a delicate balance for the channel to keep up to date with technology trends and customer demand, but remain faithful to what staff do best.
The current environment has highlighted how critical it is for companies to define values, objectives, customers and culture.
Consolidation, the cloud and the recession are among the driving forces for change at present, but there will always be new trends that regular strategic reviews help companies keep abreast of.
Whether it is a vendor, distributor or reseller, ensuring your business lays claim to a piece of the market will help it avoid becoming an also-ran.