Technology resellers and system integrators are a crucial part of modern tech infrastructure, which means they offer an important function across an array of industries and sectors.
Generally, the skills involved have yet to change - in addition to general consultancy talents such as market awareness and efficiency, integrators need to understand how to match their customers' needs to existing projects that will service them effectively.
However, as the market becomes increasingly crowded and chief information officers (CIOs) become cannier about what they need from a reseller or integrator, it is no longer enough to simply offer a useful service.
At EMR we’ve seen that, as is typical in sales-led sectors as they begin to mature, differentiation is becoming a critical factor when it comes to marketing services and gaining new clients.
Standing out from the crowd
Ultimately, improving their marketing proposition is vital if resellers are to attract new business.
This could create new roles in the sector for tech-savvy advertising and comms specialists who understand the need to use innovative techniques to engage with existing clients and form relationships with potential ones.
Analyst firm IDC, which publishes an annual systems integrator report, recently noted that working out what customers need and attempting to provide that will prove a more effective approach than simply producing a one-size-fits-all solution for every client.
Ali Zaidi, an analyst with the firm, told Computer Weekly the best performers within the market "have the depth and breadth of capabilities across their systems integrator portfolio to help customers solve their complex business problems".
He cited the likes of Accenture and IDM as examples of how to do this effectively.
According to Mr Zaidi, the areas of concern identified by project users include infrastructure improvement, virtualisation and the consolidation of data centres, applications and data, with the aim of achieving lower-cost, higher-performance IT structures.
Obviously, marketers cannot take the lead in demanding what services systems integrators offer. But they can reflect a more eclectic approach by changing how organisations engage with customers, as well as ensuring that businesses listen to feedback and act responsively to deal with any issues that emerge.
If resellers are unable to come up with innovative campaigns and bespoke content, they could find themselves being left behind in an increasingly competitive market.
Identify your strengths
The maturity of the sector means that it is no longer enough to purchase a few customer databases and fire out a pasted-together direct marketing campaign to CIOs and chief technology officers.
Not only are these executives now more aware of what they need, but marketing in general across the industry has also become more intimate - businesses want to have a conversation with a potential service supplier, assessing the options and the potential levels before sales become involved.
We’ve found that a growing number of tech resellers are adopting a more tailored approach, aiming at specific or niche markets rather than simply sending out their campaign to every company under the sun.
This means that it is far easier to produce engaging, client-focused copy - assuming that the right talent is in place to do so.