ChannelPro May 2017 : Page 24

PEERTOPEER LEARN TO SPIN YOUR MARKETING ‘FLYWHEEL’ Nex-Tech built a marketing program designed to deliver value to customers, and deepen relationships, through personalized, fun, and interesting content they care about. By Steve Riat • Photography by Chris Norris EX-TECH HAS a marketing “flywheel” that we spin every month. It includes webinars and newsletters, lunch and learns, IT peer group sessions, social media, and speaking at community events. Through these efforts we try to provide value to our cus-tomers by delivering content they care about, not sales pitches, and therefore deepen our relationships. Our goal is get continuous touches with our customers and to be recognized as an industry leader in the Midwest, providing telecom, in-ternet, broadband, VoIP, managed IT services, marketing, and more to a largely rural market. We want to position our people as industry ex-perts, so we create all our own content. While these efforts naturally have a small sales component and often generate maybe 10 to 15 leads weekly, we are not directly selling. Through humor, compelling content on pertinent issues, and personal stories, we are able to humanize everyone from the ex-ecutive team to the sales team, making us easily approachable so customers are not afraid to reach out to us. For example, our best-read article was written by one of our sales engineers about his dog Underdog. The message was to invest in people and they’ll give you higher returns. It was really well writ-ten, and people are still asking the SE how Underdog is. When customers feel they know you it helps to develop a deeper connection. writing all this content. The idea was to write something interesting, make it fun, and if you can link it to something you do in our business, great. We started getting positive results and leads, and realized that it wasn’t all that time consuming. We’ve since cre-ated a template so the process is easier. Then our vendor partners encouraged us to do webinars. Again, it was painful getting started, but we had almost 100 people on the first one, and I was getting calls and email from attendees. So we made that a regular piece of our flywheel and found the people in the company with engaging per-sonalities who could keep guests on topic. We post to our website and on YouTube and measure our results. Next, one of our vendors wanted us to do a lunch and learn, and that had good results. So we developed another template, learned some lessons in the process, and added to the flywheel. We also host an annual tech event, but it includes a lot of soft topics like zero in-box, digital advertising, Facebook, and so on. Last year our guest speaker was Datto’s Austin McCord, who talked about building a business out of his parents’ basement— a message relevant to anyone who wants to build and scale a business. Another part of the marketing flywheel is hosting IT peer groups. We bring in IT profes-sionals from the local colleges, hospitals, and the city. We don’t sell to them; we let them converse about the same problems they’re all having. We also present at a lot of local events. Digital marketing and social are next. We’re doing some Snapchat and Facebook advertis-ing, and we’re trying things all the time. All of these continuous touches have helped our presence and spurred more mar-keting opportunities. For my peers in the business who want to launch their own mar-keting efforts, here is some advice: ■ Don’t try to do too much all at once. Start with a newsletter or webinar, get good at it, then move to the next piece of your flywheel. ■ Once you start, continue. A lot of times people will do something once and have good results, but they won’t do it again for six months—that’s where the flywheel comes in. Keep spinning it. ■ Build a process around a particular marketing effort, and appoint someone to own that process. ■ Don’t try to be perfect. There’s a hu-manizing value when you don’t worry about dotting every i and crossing every t. ■ Social is a different animal. It can be a struggle to produce something someone will care about. It’s also a balancing act between controlling content and letting control go so you can humanize the mes-sage. People will do stupid things once in a while, but if you sit down with them and explain what not to do, they generally will do the right thing. Finally, don’t be boring. I am constantly asking my team, “Would you read this? No, it’s boring technology. Write a story like Un-derdog.” Once you start thinking that way, it gets easier and easier to spin that flywheel. Getting Started We started with a quarterly newsletter. Ini-tially, it was painful, because nobody liked 24 MAY 2017 ChannelProNetwork.com

Peer To Peer

Steve Riat

LEARN TO SPIN YOUR MARKETING ‘FLYWHEEL’

Nex-Tech built a marketing program designed to deliver value to customers, and deepen relationships, through personalized, fun, and interesting content they care about.

NEX-TECH HAS a marketing “flywheel” that we spin every month. It includes webinars and newsletters, lunch and learns, IT peer group sessions, social media, and speaking at community events. Through these efforts we try to provide value to our customers by delivering content they care about, not sales pitches, and therefore deepen our relationships.

Our goal is get continuous touches with our customers and to be recognized as an industry leader in the Midwest, providing telecom, internet, broadband, VoIP, managed IT services, marketing, and more to a largely rural market. We want to position our people as industry experts, so we create all our own content.

While these efforts naturally have a small sales component and often generate maybe 10 to 15 leads weekly, we are not directly selling. Through humor, compelling content on pertinent issues, and personal stories, we are able to humanize everyone from the executive team to the sales team, making us easily approachable so customers are not afraid to reach out to us. For example, our best-read article was written by one of our sales engineers about his dog Underdog. The message was to invest in people and they’ll give you higher returns. It was really well written, and people are still asking the SE how Underdog is. When customers feel they know you it helps to develop a deeper connection.

Getting Started

We started with a quarterly newsletter. Initially, it was painful, because nobody liked writing all this content. The idea was to write something interesting, make it fun, and if you can link it to something you do in our business, great. We started getting positive results and leads, and realized that it wasn’t all that time consuming. We’ve since created a template so the process is easier.

Then our vendor partners encouraged us to do webinars. Again, it was painful getting started, but we had almost 100 people on the first one, and I was getting calls and email from attendees. So we made that a regular piece of our flywheel and found the people in the company with engaging personalities who could keep guests on topic. We post to our website and on YouTube and measure our results.

Next, one of our vendors wanted us to do a lunch and learn, and that had good results. So we developed another template, learned some lessons in the process, and added to the flywheel.

We also host an annual tech event, but it includes a lot of soft topics like zero inbox, digital advertising, Facebook, and so on. Last year our guest speaker was Datto’s Austin McCord, who talked about building a business out of his parents’ basement— a message relevant to anyone who wants to build and scale a business.

Another part of the marketing flywheel is hosting IT peer groups. We bring in IT professionals from the local colleges, hospitals, and the city. We don’t sell to them; we let them converse about the same problems they’re all having. We also present at a lot of local events.

Digital marketing and social are next. We’re doing some Snapchat and Facebook advertising, and we’re trying things all the time.

All of these continuous touches have helped our presence and spurred more marketing opportunities. For my peers in the business who want to launch their own marketing efforts, here is some advice:



Don’t try to do too much all at once. Start with a newsletter or webinar, get good at it, then move to the next piece of your flywheel.



Once you start, continue. A lot of times people will do something once and have good results, but they won’t do it again for six months—that’s where the flywheel comes in. Keep spinning it.



Build a process around a particular marketing effort, and appoint someone to own that process.



Don’t try to be perfect. There’s a humanizing value when you don’t worry about dotting every i and crossing every t.


Social is a different animal. It can be a struggle to produce something someone will care about. It’s also a balancing act between controlling content and letting control go so you can humanize the message. People will do stupid things once in a while, but if you sit down with them and explain what not to do, they generally will do the right thing.

Finally, don’t be boring. I am constantly asking my team, “Would you read this? No, it’s boring technology. Write a story like Underdog.” Once you start thinking that way, it gets easier and easier to spin that flywheel.

Steve Riat Director of Sales, Nex-Tech

LOCATION Lenora, Kan.

FOUNDED 1951

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 346

COMPANY WEBSITE nex-tech.com

COMPANY FOCUS We want to be the broadband and technology company in the Midwest.

FAVORITE PART OF MY JOB Working with people and growing leaders

LEAST FAVORITE PART Paperwork

WHAT PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT ME I have had three

jobs: carrying out groceries, retail, and Nex-Tech. I am a lifetime learner.

Read the full article at http://digital.channelprosmb.com/article/Peer+To+Peer/2773623/404266/article.html.

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