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Why Playing It Safe is the Riskiest Move: A Case for Channel Marketing Investment in Unstable Times

Hello, good readers and savvy tech aficionados! Sit tight and grab your finest cup of java because we are diving headlong into the hearty discussion of channel marketing investment in these oh-so-interesting economic times we find ourselves navigating. 

You see, it’s an age-old tale. As soon as economic waters become choppy, many a company battens down the hatches, retreating from bold moves and opting instead to play it safe to “weather the storm.” Well, my channel friends, this article is your wake-up call to go in the opposite direction towards the adventurous route of investment and innovation, steering you clear of the Sirens of Safety.

The Great Differentiator

While some in our industry may see this as a time to cut costs (hello investor-backed firms, I am talking directly to you today, it seems!) and to put marketing on the proverbial back burner, quietly simmering with the lowest possible heat that is precisely the wrong move. That’s right – this is not the time to shy away from marketing.

This is the time to embrace it like a long-lost friend, with gusto, enthusiasm, and a well-designed strategy or two. This is when you lean in, out-position your competition, and take more than your fair share of the business out there. That’s because, in a time of economic uncertainty, it doesn’t mean no money is available; it just means the money is tighter. This means that those who are bold and don’t cut their marketing will be the winners; the winners will still win and win big in this scenario. 

Why, you ask? Because, dear savvy technology and communications channel folks, investing in marketing now is what will set you apart from the timid lot. It’s the spicy ingredient in a bland soup, the unmistakable tune in a monotone symphony — in short, it’s your ticket to being remembered, to stand out in a marketplace flooded with competitors who are singing the “safe and secure” song. Trust me, your bottom line will thank you for this one. 

Data, the Unsung Hero

And in this world of marketing forward, data is not just a repository of facts but a goldmine of opportunities. Mining this treasure trove, especially in times of economic uncertainty, can unveil patterns, needs, and nuances previously untouched. The data-driven marketer is like a wise sage in a village of uncertainty, pointing the way to undiscovered lands of opportunity with a staff of analytics and a map of customer insights.

Do you have a competitor who charges differently than you? Could that be a marketing campaign for “switchers” that could benefit you? Does your solution save firms money? Protect companies from risk? Do you know what customers are searching for online that would buy your solution? Can you target them – the simple answer is yes, you can!

Use your data insights to target prospects and customers who need your solution to achieve their goals, and you will win. Unsure how that works? Let’s chat, and I can walk you through it for your business. As an aside, for vendors reading this tome – you can use data too. Invest in a tool like PartnerOptimizer to ensure you are investing your MDF dollars in the right partners!

The Building of Trust

We cannot ignore the elephant in the room – the heart-wrenching, purse-string-tightening economic uncertainty looming large. But herein lies a golden opportunity to build trust with your customers, to forge relationships stronger than a cup of well-brewed espresso. By having the tough conversations via your marketing, you can show that you understand and are taking action to help them in these times. 

By communicating value, demonstrating reliability, and showcasing a deep understanding of the challenges end-users face, you’re not just selling a solution; you’re selling a trusted partnership, a beacon of hope in an unsettled landscape. 

One example marketing campaign we ran recently was a digital brochure that technicians were provided to review services with existing clients. Because the technician is often the face of the MSP business, this campaign was designed to ensure the client knew all the benefits of their support program and what was available in the other plan levels.

This campaign resulted in 2 customers downgrading their plans but 21 customers upgrading their plans to have the more robust benefits of the next-level plan. Because it honored the customers’ needs, there was a slight downturn in two customers billings, but the vast majority of clients upgraded, making this a very successful campaign. 

Adaptability, the Mother of Reinvention

The bottom line? We find ourselves in an era where the adaptable do not just survive but thrive. Investing in marketing now gives you the playground to experiment, to iterate, and to find new routes to market that are both innovative and attuned to the changing needs of the marketplace, often at a lower cost than in high-growth economic times. You can negotiate prices in this market, and you should lower your costs and allow you to do more marketing. 

Be innovative during these troubling times – try things you would not normally do to attract business. We had one client who we built a campaign for that solicited the attorneys, accountants, and digital marketing firms in their geo area to refer business. We created banners to be placed on their websites (in some instances for a small fee to place, in others for click-through dollars, and in others for referral $s).

Through the campaign they signed up 11 referral partners and have received close to 40 referrals over the past 90 days from these partners. This is a low-cost approach to getting leads from the customers trusted advisor.   This is just one example, with creativity, you can drive new leads at limited costs now.

It’s not just about selling; it’s about evolving, adapting, and coming out on the other side, not just unscathed but victorious, with a brand that is stronger, wiser, and infinitely more connected to its audience.


So, there you have it, the case for not just continuing but ramping up your marketing efforts in these turbulent economic times. It is an invitation to be bold, to be different, to survive, and truly thrive.

As we reach the end of this argument, the only reasonable conclusion one can draw is that now is not the time to shrink back but to boldly step forward into the marketing limelight. Let’s not meet economic uncertainty with fear but greet it warmly, with a well-strategized marketing plan tucked firmly under our arm, a twinkle of adventurous spirit in our eyes, and a firm handshake of trust extended towards our clients and partners.

After all, as the old saying doesn’t go but absolutely should: in the land of the cautious, the bold marketer is king. Let’s lead with strength, savvy marketers. Forward march!



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