I recently had the opportunity to speak at channel-focused conferences targeting Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). In November, I presented at ChannelNEXT West in Canmore, Alberta, and at the Cybersecurity Defense Ecosystem Summit in Ontario, CA. The discussions centered around the crucial need for visibility in the markets these providers serve.
In my pre-event conversations with various providers, I was surprised to learn that many under-utilize media relations and marketing in general. This seems to stem from the industry’s composition. In the United States, there are over 40,000 MSPs. Remarkably, 90% of these MSPs earn less than a few million dollars per year, indicating a highly competitive and fragmented market. While they may boast excellent teams and support, growth remains a significant challenge.
From a media standpoint, the bulk of coverage secured by MSPs today is typically garnered by the larger providers, or rather those with “budgets large enough to engage public relations firms,” ensuring prominent media presence and distinct market positioning. I was surprised to learn that many mid-sized and smaller providers at the shows didn’t realize that good PR can be done on a strategic budget. The right agency partners understand how vital these voices are in industry conversations. Journalists are particularly keen on new sources, especially those with expertise in serving the small to medium business sector, which constitutes the majority of the market.
Most IT service providers acquire leads and customers through partnerships with cloud and cybersecurity firms or through personal networks, but imagine the impact on their businesses if their regional or vertical markets were more aware of their unique offerings. Some providers believe their current client acquisition methods are sufficient, but increasing their visibility could exponentially enhance their business prospects.
A simple starting point for these providers, especially if they operate regionally, is to engage with local media. Contacting district newspapers, business journals, and broadcast media with relevant insights or offers of expertise can be a powerful tool. For example, offering to discuss how and why MSP can help retail customers avoid scams can be an appealing story for media outlets. Most providers likely already have content prepared for their clients, which can be repurposed easily for immediate media outreach.
With the majority of companies turning to the internet for service providers, appearing in local media can significantly elevate a provider’s profile among competitors. Being featured as a knowledgeable local company in a community media outlet can be a game-changer.
Despite being smaller than some of the more prominent names in the industry, these providers are equally knowledgeable and valuable. Taking the first step in increasing visibility can lead to significant opportunities. There are many more strategies to explore, and I’m always available to discuss how to leverage them.