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Brands, Products, Lifestyles: What MSPs Can Learn from Apple

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Over the past decade, Apple has built a trend-setting, culture-defining brand that evokes simplicity, innovation and “coolness,” in an industry that has traditionally focused more on bits and bytes.

At its core, though, all Apple really does is sell computers, smartphones and tablets. There’s nothing special about the function of the products, but even while living much of its life in a crowded and highly commoditized market, Apple has made itself more than a technology company. It’s practically created a lifestyle.

Managed services providers (MSPs) live in a similar world. It’s hard to definitively pin down just how many MSPs there are, but 37 percent of MSPs report having seven or more direct competitors. Put simply, it’s a crowded space.

If MSPs all offer the same services, how do you ensure customers ultimately choose your company over the others? Here are a few ways you can learn from Apple and distinguish your MSP business in a competitive market.

Define Your Values

In one famous speech, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs explained his belief that values are at the core of marketing. In a complicated world, he said companies have to be really clear about what customers need to know about them, focusing less on product features and more on business-defining values.

Jobs cited Nike – a company that sells shoes but, in its marketing, only ever celebrates great athletes and sports – as a prime example of a brand that focuses on values over product. What kind of values would you celebrate as an MSP?

Consider that you are your customers’ IT lifeline, providing the tools and support they need to keep their business running. You can develop a brand and slogan around these values to make it clear why your business is unique. And re-brandable solutions, such as white-label IT monitoring, let you establish that brand with customizable dashboards and reports you can share with customers.

Be Personal

Apple has a devoted following because the company created a memorable and unique brand. Apple users swear by their iPhones, MacBooks and iPads. Its popular retail stores offer one-on-one support and training from resident “Geniuses.” And despite minimalistic advertising and no social media presence, Apple has been able to connect to consumers in ways other brands envy.

MSPs are in a unique position to establish the same level of customer engagement. The solutions in your technology suite should enable personalized service through granular features. Business Service Monitoring, for example, provides unique views into your client’s IT environment, so you can show them only what matters most, whether it’s their eCommerce website, finance services or critical servers.

Offer the Unexpected

Surprises are big for Apple. Jobs would famously end Apple product launches by pretending to leave the stage before remembering that he had “one more thing…” to introduce and unveiling another surprise product. This year, CEO Tim Cook used the “one more thing…” line to shake up the world of smartwatches with the Apple Watch.

What could you offer that your clients might not expect from a typical MSP? How about ways to save them time and money?

Rather than play the role of “Mr. Fix It,” leverage a unified and integrated IT monitoring platform to offer proactive, periodic system health checks. These reports can identify ways to improve network performance and establish a cost-effective infrastructure, putting more money back in your clients’ pockets.

With the right technology and perspective, you can establish your MSP as a partner to clients’ success and create the type of meaningful engagements that differentiate your business from every other MSP.

Download our eBook "MSPs: It’s Time for Your IT Monitoring to Grow Up" to learn:

  • How to keep your tech team focused on your customers
  • How to reduce time spent on unreliable and inefficient technologies
  • How to prove value to your customers and create new revenue streams
  • How to differentiate from your competition and strengthen your brand recognition
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