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proactive support where many proactive services are provided, and customers receive additional consultations about their server configurations. Highly customized implementations generally fall under this level of support.

I go into some detail here because service and support is how Rackspace differentiates itself. Rackspace is known for Fanatical Support. Napier recognizes that customer service is at the core of Rackspace’s business, so it helped introduce the “fanatical customer support” culture for which Rackspace is known today. Napier’s efforts went into instilling a deep concern for and interest in the customer at every level of the company. As the Web site states, “Fanatical Support isn’t just what we do. It’s really what makes us, well, us. It’s our drive to do more than what our contracts, service level agreements, and guarantees say we will. It’s our need to make a difference every day to our customers. It’s our promise for client peace of mind, and we actually deliver.”

The Competition

There are many companies in this marketplace that compete, from large companies to new global entrants in the marketplace that try to compete on price, skill, and support and service that are at the heart of Rackspace today.

The Marketing Best Practice

Because Rackspace’s goal is to keep customers for life and to obviously grow its install base, its marketing must support the main strategy of Fanatical Support. Everything it does has to be built to reinforce that positioning including how to grow the business, how to fulfill the expectations of customers, and how to expand the datacenter or product offerings. It’s all about reinforcing that single focus of Fanatical Support. So, best practice is about having customers focus on that to become its evangelists. No one will believe Rackspace if it is the only one saying its support is fanatical!

The great thing here is that its CEO Napier believes that marketing is a key role in its strategy. Napier comments, “When you’re the little guy getting going, marketing gave us the air cover, the positioning, the communication mechanisms out there to get our brand and name in front of the people who were making managed hosting decisions. And so when we think about our ability to go from a $3 million a year to revenue north of $200 million, our marketing efforts positioned us properly to put our company into the deal flow of the industry. Our little company got more than our fair share of opportunities. Marketing accelerated our growth in a way that purely just a sales focus would never perform.”

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