I am often asked what I do. I respond that I am a Marketing Manager for a GIS company. Then, when I get a confused and puzzled look on the inquisitor’s face, I clarify and say, “GIS stands for Geospatial Information Systems.” This clarification typically doesn’t help because the follow-up is always, “What is that?” I explain that GIS is used all around us. Utility companies use GIS to map where to lay gas lines or put up electrical poles. Governments implement it for city planning, snow removal routes, and crime maps. Educational institutions utilize it to create maps of their campuses. Private businesses like an HVAC company use it for dispatching employees to the correct homes making the process more efficient. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how GIS can improve the way we work, live, and play.
With just the handful of industries I provided that use GIS, how do you actually market to them all? It seems like you’d have hundreds of marketing strategy documents for each industry and ten more documents to target each decision maker within that organization. The sheer volume of outreach needed to touch each of these points could easily overwhelm a sales and marketing team.
First, let me start by saying not all GIS companies target all industries – that’s a relief for the marketer! But what if they do? GEO Jobe happens to be the latter; we are a one-stop shop for any and all industries that need GIS services. This means that I have to work smarter and not harder as a marketer. How do I do this, you may ask?
When you become an Esri partner, you can choose between six benefit packages. The packages increase in benefits as you increase your membership. Typically a new partner will start with Startup, Associate, or Bronze, depending on your experience and company profile. So what’s the point of becoming a partner? As an Esri partner, you are provided with ongoing business, sales, marketing, and technical support. Sounds great, right!? Especially for those GIS companies that provide products or services to any and all industries. Once you join the EPN, you immediately have access to an extensive network that will support your company in its growth. I cannot stress enough how important it is to not only become a partner but to be an active partner. In the words of our Operations Director Danny Menikheim:
“GEO Jobe has continued to grow year after year. One of the main reasons for this growth is our heavy engagement within the Esri Partner Network. Building those relationships, not only with Esri but also with other Esri partners, has allowed us to collaborate with others in the industry and has provided a network for support. At this point, I couldn’t imagine operating in this space without being involved as a partner. ”
Another opportunity that becomes available after joining the EPN is their slew of partner webinars. This gives you industry insight, new tools, training, and resources you can use to grow your business. I highly recommend using this resource as a partner. The Esri team puts a lot of time and effort into their webinars, and they are always worth your time.
The second tool in my toolbox is the ArcGIS Marketplace. I like to think of the ArcGIS Marketplace like the Apple App Store or Google Play. I know in my own life when I need something to make a task easier or more streamlined, I think – there’s an app for that! The ArcGIS Marketplace provides for people specifically looking for GIS apps and services.
Adding your applications and services to the Esri Marketplace will allow customers to find your listing and give you new business or brand awareness. Not all listings need to have a cost involved either; you can simply put up a free application that will provide a customer with a taste of what you can provide. For example, GEO Jobe has an application called Admin Tools for ArcGIS. We have a free version you can simply install right from the marketplace. If you need something with a few more features, you can upgrade to Admin Tools Pro for only $500.00 a year. It’s really that simple. Make a listing and start gaining customers and brand awareness within your community.
There are two tips I would like to share here. First, make sure your listings stay up-to-date, don’t just post it, and forget about it. As your software or services change, make sure your listings change too. And finally, use the new SEO tagging feature. This will make sure your listings come up in more search results.
So don’t fret, my fellow GIS Marketers! There are tools and resources out there to make your job easier. Utilize these tools and start working smarter and not harder. Now go forth and market!
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to have a conversation.