This post was originally published on the Continuum MSP blog . Managed services providers (MSPs) planning a marketing strategy today will find an overwhelming array of technologies and tactics at their disposal. But those that adopt technology- and data-driven marketing while maintaining a consistent human touch will stand the best chance of success. Here’s 5 practices we often recommend for MSPs looking to humanize their brand and make stronger connections with prospects: 1. Lead with your people. IT leaders looking to outsource management of a critical piece of their environment may have a variety of factors to consider, but these two tend to be the most critical: They want to know you have technical expertise and reliable customer service. A great way to demonstrate both attributes is to lead with real people and real stories in your marketing. Examples of this include video interviews with your engineers and support team, frequent customer case studies and team bios prominently featured on your website. 2. Deliver on-point content for every question and objection. A comprehensive, buyer-centric content library is a key building block of a good IT marketing strategy. You can build this by first doing an internal workshop to understand the common stages of the decision process for each of your services, then creating a piece of content that addresses the typical questions and concerns a prospect has at each stage. Once built, this library can fuel nearly every aspect of your marketing—from lead generation to social media to sales calls. 3. Avoid marketing buzzwords. Contempt for marketing buzzwords and generally empty language is universal among IT pros. When you build your website and content library, try doing it without using phrases like “world-class,” “end-to-end,” “best of breed,” or “industry-leading.” Instead, try to convey your true identity and differentiators in a direct, simple and transparent voice. Tell them what you do, tell them what you don’t do, and have a clear and painless call to action for starting a conversation. 4. Build email lists organically. Particularly for new MSPs starting from zero in marketing, the temptation to purchase an email list can be strong. But the serious drawbacks of this tactic have been well documented, including here, here, here and here. Simply put, you risk brand damage and compromise your future email deliverability while likely seeing poor returns. The good news: When you build your email list through slow and steady inbound marketing (drawing people in with useful content and getting them to subscribe) you will likely see much higher engagement levels and ultimately better leads. It’s quality over quantity. 5. If you cold call, be armed with knowledge. Cold calling can turn off busy business decision makers, but sometimes it feels like a necessary evil to build pipeline. If you must do it, be sure your sales reps have the depth of knowledge to lead a meaningful conversation with the few people that do want to engage. Our own research as well as that of others has shown that IT pros don’t care much for cold calls, but they really don’t like getting them from people who can’t answer their questions. Learn more about the humanized approach to MSP marketing: Visit Lauchlan at booth #108 at Continuum’s Navigate 2016 Conference, September 28-30th — Boston, MA. We look forward to meeting you and talking about your marketing challenges.