TORONTO – At Asigra’s Global Partner Summit here this week, the backup and disaster recovery provider told its partners that the company is strengthening its already strong marketing efforts, to build awareness of its own brand and to give their partners, who are their entire sales force, more credibility taking Asigra to the market.
Asigra has a different set of marketing issues today than barely a decade ago, when their problem was that no one knew who they were, even though they had been in business for almost 20 years, said Eran Farujan, Asigra’s Executive Vice President.
“No one had heard of us, and our business was being built by our partners going to their customers,” Farajun said. “Then we set an objective of being able to help our partners tell their customers they are using a viable product. So we hired a PR agency, and started doing other things, like getting analyst coverage, getting on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, submitting ourselves into award competitions – all to to get credibility around us for our partners to deliver to their customers.”
“We are definitely much more focused on a two-pronged approach to marketing,” said Tracy Staniland, Asigra’s Vice President, Marketing. “We are active in partner enablement, building our materials that they can use, while we are also increasing our own brand awareness in the mid-size and enterprise markets.”
Staniland said that feedback from partners was that they need to create more brand awareness in the market.
“It’s not a do it once and done thing,” she said. “It’s building year over year over year over year. “It will be a 3-5 year investment before we see the results of that.”
Staniland said that they are now about halfway where they want to be in terms of brand awareness.
“There is definitely more midmarket and enterprise awareness, and the opportunities are getting larger and larger” she said. “We see that from the customer inquiries that we get, so our efforts are delivering results. We just need to continue to build on those efforts.”
In what would be ironic if it wasn’t a common issue throughout the IT industry, Asigra, a Canadian company, is relatively stronger in the United States than it is in Canada.
“We don’t have the brand recognition in Canada we would like to have, and definitely have more brand recognition south of the border, but that’s a common problem in the software business,” Staniland said. We also have strong brand presence in the U.K, which is based on our partner ecosystem there.”
The Internet is the main focus of Asigra’s marketing efforts.
“While we do go to strategic events, our marketing focus is primarily digital.” Staniland said. “We can measure results, and we get broader visibility for the cost. Google is our best friend.” They have also had good success with syndicating their own content across third party websites.
“Our marketing creates air cover, and traffic to our website, to create qualified leads we can give to our partner community,” she said.
To help partners make use of Asigra’s materials more effectively, the company has overhauled its partner portal and will be launching it in the next couple weeks.
“Partners weren’t wildly unhappy with the old one, but there was some feedback they were finding things difficult, because we were sending out so much content and it was hard to find things,” Staniland said. “It was also time to refresh the portal anyway.”
Previously, the portal had no search functionality at all.
“Now with the new search capabilities, they can look up content, on their tablets and smartphones as well, because partners are not always sitting at their desks,” Staniland said. “If a partner is going into a sales call and wants to look up a competitive battlecard, they can do that, and we will also have new battlecards on the portal as well.”
Asigra is also developing new and more systematic turnkey marketing campaigns around things like Office 365.
“We have had turnkey campaigns in the past, but based on partner feedback, we have made these more extensive,” Staniland said. “They aren’t just focused on emails, but on content, whitepapers, web banners, and key words, as well as presentations for webinars and ‘lunch and learns’. There are also specific ideas given for using the content as well.”
Staniland indicated that Asigra has been customizing its partner enablement messaging with things like a video with a voiceover in a British accent for that market, as well as Chinese language materials, and that this will continue.
“We will be looking at the next markets we want to do this in,” she said. “For instance, next year do we do this in Germany, or Australia and New Zealand?”