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How can PR help restore faith in the IT channel?

Posted by Joe McNamara on 1st October 2013

An official report from analyst house Ovum has found that there is a lack of trust between businesses and IT suppliers, describing the relationship between CIOs and resellers as ‘semi-dysfunctional’.

The report in question discusses the issues around partners being unable to meet the specific needs of the customers and being guilty of making unfulfilled promises and commitments.

Where does PR come in, I hear you say? Well PR is all about targeting and reaching key audiences for your business. If you’re an IT reseller or integrator, PR can help you win mindshare with CIOs and IT decision makers.

That’s all very well – but this report suggests that actually IT resellers and integrators need to be more careful about what they say they can deliver and what they actually deliver.

Perhaps unfairly, there’s a touch of the old double-glazing salesmen stigma towards the IT channel and it needs addressing.

Any external communications has to speak the same language as your customer. Blinding people with science doesn’t cut it – potential customers need to see real-life endorsements of your brand and get the feeling that you will understand them.

The message coming out from an IT partner needs to be one that tells a customer that they could build a relationship with you. By focusing on capabilities rather than products you can often find the PR becomes a lot more rewarding. Here are some top tips to get you started:

–       Provide some unique insight on an ongoing industry trend or big news announcement based on real experience.

–       Do some publishable research into what the real concerns are for your customers and potential customers.

–       Rather than just chanting buzzwords and terms from the rooftops, acknowledge the challenges of rolling out new technologies and offer advice to businesses on how to handle them.

–       Cut through the jargon and actually explain in plain English what certain technologies and solutions offer. What is their impact in practice and how do they work?

–       Tell a story about how the solutions you provide have benefitted your existing customers. Bring your products to life by showing potential customers how they have already benefitted real people in a real way.

A final thought: when you walk into a sales pitch don’t just talk about your company or its technology. Show your customer why they need what you are providing them and how it will all work in practice. PR is no different.

Image credit: mcw026

Joe McNamara