“Marketing” does not equal “Building Loyalty”
The traditional sales and marketing models do not always apply to SharePoint. Why? I think it has much to do with SharePoint being a platform, and not a product. While some may view that bit of “wordsmithing” to be nothing more than a brilliant marketing move by Microsoft, it really does make a difference in how companies position themselves in the SharePoint space.
What is the goal of marketing? To build awareness. The traditional marketing model seeks to reach as many people as possible, raising awareness around a product or service, which will lead to a final choice and a sale. It’s the funnel approach. It’s the billboard marketing approach: broadcast your message, and they will come.
But in the SharePoint world, it doesn’t work like that….because it really is a platform, not a shrink-wrapped package that you can pull off of a shelf, install, and go. While there is much you can do with it out-of-the-box, getting it to solve your particular business process may take some time. And tinkering. And expertise. And the help of more people than you’ve probably budgeted for. Basically, everything you’d expect from a powerful platform. With the right amount of time and expertise, you can build the solutions you need to make your business more productive.
All of this helps explain why marketing for SharePoint is, well….different. It’s more about building relationships with a network of people whom you can trust to give you answers, and solid solutions. Marketing should explain what your product or service does, but fit into a larger dialog around how your company fits into the SharePoint space overall. Driving sales is important, but building loyalty (or advocacy) pays off more in the long-run.