Cloud For Business From a Stealth Startup

Harry Trott

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How Cloud Startups Have Reinvented Business Development | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud

With APIs, BDMs can now identify complementary products and services and piggyback on their platform

How Cloud Startups Have Reinvented Business Development with Piggyback Marketing

A growing number of BDMs (business development) today have a technology or product marketing background. Their role - increase product reach through piggyback marketing.

The job description of BDM is pretty straight-forward - find new opportunities for your business. They play an important role in the direction a company takes. This includes identifying new markets to venture into, new partnerships to build, identifying new products or services that the company could launch and finally figuring out new ways to reach existing markets.

Traditionally, BDMs have always come from a sales background. Both these job roles require people to network with new partners and stakeholders and arrive at possible areas of partnership. In the case of cloud startups however, the role of BDM has been taking a new turn - a growing number of BDMs today have a technology or product marketing background. Their role - increase product reach through piggyback marketing.

Piggyback marketing is the use of third party product or service to build the reach for your own product. Traditionally, BDMs partnered with businesses offering complementary products or services to promote each others’ products to their respective customer base. For example, auto dealerships routinely sell car accessories like stereos and decals from third party brands. In return, these third party manufacturers could promote the auto dealerships as their ‘authorized outlets’ in their marketing materials. It’s a two-way partnership that benefits both the stakeholders.

In the case of cloud startups however, piggyback marketing is not always two-way. Cloud-based services offer what is called an API (Application Programming Interface). APIs let any third party developer connect to your server and perform actions without having to physically log into your system. For instance, you could build a personal app that checks the prices of your favorite products on Amazon, eBay and any other eCommerce store if these services had an API available for third parties.

With APIs, BDMs can now identify complementary products and services and piggyback on their platform without an explicit return of favor. If you are a business that makes marketing tools, customer service applications or offers shipment services, you could, for instance, use the Shopify API to build an app for the eCommerce platform. This lets your business piggyback on the Shopify platform and be instantly seen by their users on the app store.

Piggyback marketing by cloud startups does not always have to be through APIs. Businesses can also make use of other technology tools like ATL and MFC, for instance, to connect to Microsoft applications. This way, your business could create add-ins that Microsoft Office users could use while working on their documents or spreadsheets.

While the use of APIs and ATLs are not two-way partnerships like traditional piggyback marketing strategies, they are still mutually beneficial. A good example in this case is the iOS app store. When Apple first opened up its app store, thousands of businesses flocked to the platform in order to piggyback on the iPhone’s success and be seen by its customers. This gave Apple the much needed competitive edge over Google’s Android in the initial years of rivalry between the two platforms.

More Stories By Harry Trott

Harry Trott is an IT consultant from Perth, WA. He is currently working on a long term project in Bangalore, India. Harry has over 7 years of work experience on cloud and networking based projects. He is also working on a SaaS based startup which is currently in stealth mode.