A Microsoft-focused digital marketing firm has launched a new benchmarking tool it claims will help channel partners who are struggling to succeed in the space.
Fifty Five and Five's Maya tool allows partners to input links to digital assets – such as their website, blogs and social media pages – before analysing them and providing the partner with a score and tips for improvement.
Chris Wright, the firm's founder, said there is a big demand for such a service because of the lack of digital skills among partners.
"Most partners will admit there's huge room for improvement," he said. "The majority of partners are founded by technical people [and the companies] are owner-run businesses. They understand that marketing is not their strong suit.
"We find a lot of partners are crying out for a bit of help. There are lot of examples of partners who are tuned into content marketing but there are definitely areas where partners themselves, and Microsoft probably, will freely admit they can improve."
"We understand it's digital warfare and we invest a lot of time across all our channels."
Maya is available to partners free of charge, and the score they obtain can be tracked over time to gauge the impact of improvement efforts.
Debate has been sparked in recent years about the effectiveness of traditional and emerging types of marketing. Microsoft once claimed that methods such as email marketing and events were dying out, with social media marketing and digital content enjoying increased importance.
Wright said that the key for partners is ensuring they have a balance of both.
"With social media, you could say 'what's the value of retweeting something?', but [in terms of] brand reinforcement, there's impact," he said. "It's a balance – you can sit there on Twitter all day and get no leads. But if you have a good event and follow up with social [it's successful]."
Mitchell Feldman (pictured), CEO of Microsoft partner RedPixie, which prides itself on its digital output, told CRN that online marketing is massively important.
"I think a lot of people think they've got to do it," he said. "A very, very small proportion have experienced success from it and as such, they're not investing in it. [They're not succeeding] because of the commitment to it. RedPixie has more marketing staff than sales.
"We understand it's digital warfare and we invest a lot of time across all our channels. It is a long-term thing and it takes years to build up a base and an audience.
"Most businesses are not programmed to use social media and do not have the time or understanding to spend that long and invest that long to see results. They don't know what it will look like."
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business