Data Storage / Cloud Infrastructure Marketing Tips

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and NetApp are examples of two companies that have made significant efforts to market their product and services. Both the companies leverage a multichannel marketing approach to reach their target audience. We have provided below a detailed overview of the marketing efforts of these companies.

We began by scouring through the companies’ website and its press releases, financial filings, presentations, and management interviews. Next, we searched through the media articles from Forbes, WSJ, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Reuters, etc., and industry reports from Deloitte, McKinsey, Statista, PR Newswire, and Forrester Research, among others. We also scoured through various advertising and media blogs like Mediapost, Adland, Adweek, Marketing Daily, Advertising Age, Unbounce, etc.

Data Storage/Cloud Infrastructure Industry Marketing Case Studies

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • For the first 10 years since its launch in 2006, the company did not actively engage in any paid or digital advertising and primarily relied upon word of mouth marketing by telling impactful customer stories of AWS use and benefits through case studies.
  • However, since 2017, the company has begun to actively engage in paid, display, and digital advertising to expand its reach. The primary messaging used in advertising campaigns is to create broader awareness about the company’s products and services among the non-technical decision-makers at major companies. The company started with running ads on the MLB’s streaming platform, in airports, at business conferences, and other places.
  • The initial focus of AWS’s marketing campaigns was to build recognition and trust and alleviate the fears of the senior management of companies in moving data from their on-premise data centers to the cloud. The first AWS out-of-home campaign focused on whiteboard sketches and provided a message that AWS infrastructure makes it easy to build the next big thing. It used the tagline ‘Build on.’
  • A subsequent campaign with the tagline ‘AWS is how‘ was centered on video-enabled billboards in and around airports. The advertisements made use of 3D text in the same font that Amazon uses for its logos, along with a colorful sunlit background. The campaign aimed to create brand awareness and highlight the data security and reliability that AWS can offer to its clients due to its rich industry experience.
  • Currently, as per Media Radar, AWS advertises across a variety of marketing channels, which include digital, print, display, and national TV. The company also invests in premium ad units and had advertised on over 250 different media properties in 2020 across multiple media formats. The company also leverages technical experts who “speak at conferences, lead user groups, and engage in grassroots efforts to help AWS grow.”
  • Additionally, ‘re: Invent‘, an annual conference organized by AWS, creates lots of advertising for the company and usually includes keynotes, hackathons, workshops, and product announcements. It also organizes local summits to create rich experiences through in-person events held around the world. The company also utilizes programmatic advertising and recently placed a programmatic ad on the website of Whittier Daily News.
  • AWS had spent around $100 million on advertising across the various marketing channels in 2020. The primary focus of the marketing is to create brand and product awareness among its target audience. In 2020, the company launched marketing campaigns supporting its 12 new product lines, including Amazon Honeycode.
  • The target audience of the company primarily consists of B2B enterprises, especially small and mid-size companies that make up the majority of the company’s user base. While the company has not disclosed any success metrics for its marketing campaigns, during the past 12 months it has partnered with DoubleClick and 17 other advertising providers, which indicates that the company is garnering fruitful results from its marketing efforts.

2. NetApp

  • The company’s adverting and marketing strategy is primarily focused on building brand reputation and market awareness about its activities. Additionally, the company leverages effective marketing to communicate to the target audience the advantages of its products and services and assist its sales force and channel partners in fresh lead generation.
  • NetApp’s marketing efforts primarily consist of product, field, channel, solutions, and digital marketing and public relations. Over the past 5 or 6 years, the company has switched from storing data in large data centers to storing data in clouds, making data movement much easier. Hence, the marketing message of the company has too changed over the last few years to reinvent and position NetApp as an organization serving both the data center and cloud audiences. As per the company’s CMO, they primarily want to communicate the message that NetApp isn’t the same company it was three years ago.
  • The company’s target audience primarily consists of B2B customers, including both large-cap and mid-cap companies requiring data storage products. Lately, the company has started to focus on customers that have spent less than $50,000 with the company over the past four years.
  • The primary marketing channels used by the company include its website, digital, display, and print. The company also invests in premium ad units and has advertised on over 250 different media Properties in the last year across multiple media formats. It has launched and advertised 1 new product in the past twelve months and has partnered with Google and 9 other providers.
  • Some recent advertising efforts of the company that highlight its message and marketing approach include a Page Takeover digital ad, a direct advertisement placed on the website of CRN, and a programmatic advertisement placed on the Boyslife website. In addition to web-based promotions, NetApp also reaches out to prospects and customers through segmented campaigns across email marketing, paid search, and paid media.
  • In 2016, in collaboration with Adobe, the company began to follow a unique marketing approach. With the help of Adobe Marketing Cloud, the company has identified and created specific segments for targeted marketing outreach. The company now segments its marketing outreach by the level of engagement of potential prospects on its website. For example, the “company produces customized marketing campaigns focused on first-time visitors, prospects who have downloaded at least one type of content such as datasheets, customers who have watched product demos or have completed form entries, and active existing customers.”
  • By engaging with Adobe and following a targeted marketing outreach strategy, NetApp has been able to successfully increase its click-through rates by 170% and conversion rates by 13%.
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