There are a wide variety of solutions that leverage “cloud” technologies. Positioning your cloud product to catch the attention of your target audience will take some clear communication in a field so crowded with “buy me” noise and hype.
As I have researched the cloud, and spoken to many companies that offer cloud products, there are three things related to marketing the cloud that seem consistent:
1. Cloud hype promotes interest, but you need more than that for sales.
With so many cloud options available, having a reputation is king. If you’re not seen as an authority, people won’t just “try you out”. And if they do want to go to the cloud, they’ll try a well-known or trusted brand rather than an unfamiliar solution.
For this reason, data center companies have a better authoritative position over web hosting companies in introducing their cloud product to their customers, and have more success selling it to an unfamiliar customer.
2. Cloud customers fear the unknown.
Cloud customers spend as much as their budget will allow to buy resources that may never be used. But they fear that if they don’t then they won’t have enough to meet their requirements.
Playing into the fear are the popular service level agreements that companies like Rackspace offer. Cloud customers want to know that there is someone they can turn to.
As a side note, many people purchase or contract a service agreement because they are unfamiliar with how their IT solution will translate into the cloud and they need someone looking over their shoulder during the migration.
3. Businesses go for enterprise cloud solutions.
Businesses depend too much on their IT infrastructure to use a cloud solution that they are unfamiliar with or that is unheard of. Also, having an enterprise solution makes it easy to pass the blame if it doesn’t work properly. Consistent though is the comfort that a dependable, well-known brand brings to a potential cloud customer who has a lot riding on his purchasing decision.
Considering how important the brand is to an enterprise customer, I have to wonder if GoDaddy’s cloud product will be successful in appealing to the paranoid/responsible cloud customer when their brand is built on hot women and cheap domain names.
Retaining Market Share
Considering how difficult it is to gain market share, one has to wonder how well Amazon will be able to maintain a dominant market share with their cloud offering as other big brands offer a solution.
Relevant to the discussion is the effect that Open Source projects will have on big brands gaining or losing market share. Rackspace’s popular Cloud Stack offering has been open sourced. One has to ask whether that will undermine their product offering or bolster their authoritative position?
What about the targeted open source projects that tackle a particular aspect of the cloud, such as remote execution? Will open source solutions be the driver of compatibility between platforms?