Mixed-Modality Marketing for MSPs

You’ll likely have heard that marketing should be a mix,  i.e. a ‘marketing-mix’. This basically means you shouldn’t rely on just one marketing channel such as telemarketing or SEO. Or even referrals, which is the primary channel for most MSPs.

It usually pays to run multiple channels simultaneously, where your prospects can come across your marketing message which not only increases your reach but it reinforces your message within that reach.
That means that someone that’s seen your company via (say) a BNI meeting will hopefully have their perception of your company strengthened if they also see you popping up in LinkedIn (for example) especially if it’s a unified, consistent message.  As a  side note, it’s what makes Google’s Re-Marketing so powerful because it looks like your business advertises everywhere and that you’re bigger than you actually are.

But did you know that everyone responds uniquely to differently ways that media are presented, according to their own sensory preferences? I.e. they can have a primary sense and a secondary sense, so for example someone’s primary sense might be sight and a secondary sense of sound, and this applies to everyone, not just if you’re when dealing with graphic designers or musicians.

sensory modalities can be encapsulated in the VAKOG model (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, and Gustatory), which is concerned with how individuals perceive and engage with the world around them. While everyone uses a blend of all these sensory channels, most individuals tend to have dominant or preferred modalities, often referred to as primary and secondary modalities.

A person’s primary modality is their most preferred sensory channel, the one they naturally gravitate towards when learning, interacting, or making decisions. For instance, a visually dominant individual would be more inclined towards images, diagrams, and written content, demonstrating a preference for seeing information. Someone with an auditory bias could respond better to hearing people speak – or a podcast for example – it’s just one of the reasons this content is being produced that you’re listening to right now.

Of course, before you actually meet your prospects, you’ll have no way of knowing which is their most responsive sensory channel. And this is – partially – why it’s a good idea to communicate across multiple sensory channels so that you maximise your chances of engaging with them most effectively. Not only that, if you only ever communicate via email for example, then you’ll be missing out on a huge potential uplift in engagement if you phone then as well or follow-up with a personalised video or Youtube clip. 

As an aside when it comes to the touch – or kinaesthetic sense – think for a moment about the contrast in your own feelings when you open something that’s really nicely packaged like a new Iphone headphones and contrast that with some crappy earphones you’re given for free when you’re on an aeroplane to the Costa Del Sol. Rinse and repeat that feeling for postal mail when you get nice mail on heavy, posh, embossed paper which really stands out and contrast that to crappy envelopes and paper from someone like your utility supplier.

My point being is that not only should you try different channels but you should also cater to different modalities for people’s senses too.

Mixed-modality marketing is a concept that encapsulates the use of multiple channels to communicate a unified message. By also tapping into different senses based on the VAKOG model (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, and Gustatory), MSP owners broaden their audience reach, enhance engagement, and drive overall business growth if done right.

Let’s quickly review each letter from the VAKOG acronym with some example media channels :

Visual. This includes websites, blogs, social media, video, online-ads, offline-ads, emails, brochures, video (including YouTube), webinars, infographics and presentations.

Auditory. Once again of course you’ve got webinars and social media and further to that you can include telemarketing, podcasts, radio, word-of-mouth, audio-testimonials and even on-hold messaging on your phone systems.

Kinaesthetic. This relates to the sense of touch and physical experience. While it might seem less relevant than a digital context, there are still various ways a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can leverage kinaesthetic channels to get ahead and stand out including trade-shows, workshops, face-to-dace consultations & demos, direct mail, branded promotional material (anyone remember mouse-mats being sent out back in the day?).

Olfactory. To be fair, you’re not baking bread or selling soap, candles or new cars so the sense of smell is probably more of a challenging sense for MSPs to make use of.

Gustatory – In the content of food, you’ve got events (one of my favourite forms of marketing), lunch & learns, coffee-mornings, wine-tastings … you name it. Of course, you can send out edibles to clients and prospects as well. There’s a lot to be said for a box of chocolates at the right time and place!

So there you have it – mixed modality marketing, covering your bases in terms of channels, standing out from the crowd and resonating with people across different senses that they will be sensitive to and not just relying on email and missing out on everything else.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can (and should) use the VAKOG framework in your sales copy and if you’re really good at this – like some NLP practitioners are – you can tell which sensory channel people are dominant to when you speak to them by listening out to the cues in their language and then speak accordingly. This can make your sales calls and presentations get a higher closing rate.

This is done brilliantly with the top sales professionals and you can even see it on TV when you look at the people who can do Jedi-Mind tricks like Derren Brown and others … really hypnotising stuff.  As well as matching and pacing people’s talking speed, they can match their tonality and modality and basically sleep-walk people into a hypnotic state … incredible stuff.

I mean – can you imagine it?  Can you see what I mean? Are you hearing what I’m saying? Does any of this feel right to you? Can we agree to shake on it and touch base next week? I certainly hope so, because – if you catch my drift – this is just a taste of things to come.
And of course, as always, now you know about this, you can notice it in other people’s marketing content too.


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Mike Knight