Rackspace: We Don’t Warehouse Shoes or Sell Linens

Our 20-year evolution has led to some confusion and humorous beliefs about what Rackspace does.

I’m a marketer.

That means I look at spam marketing email a little more closely than the normal person. I read it. I read it to get new ideas and to understand what works and grabs my attention (I have a very short attention span, so the bar is pretty high).

Every few days, I get a spam email addressed to Rackspace Hosting. These always grab my attention… in a bad way. That’s not our name. Hasn’t been for a really long time. Please, stop calling us that. Rackspace is no longer just a hosting company. We’re so much more.

In my marketing role at Rackspace, I manage our customer engagement teams — field marketing, events, executive briefing center and alliances — so I get to spend quite a lot of time with our sales teams, partners and customers (our lifeblood). Rackspace has been through a pretty amazing transformation over the past two decades, always evolving to meet our customers’ changing needs. Earlier this year, we refreshed our brand, positioning and logo, to better represent all that we do today. We even made this spectacular video:

 

But it’s hard to cut through the noise. We still struggle to let the world know what the new Rackspace is all about. Most people still don’t  understand the depth and breadth of who we are or what we do. A former colleague recently reached out to me to see if we had warehouse space to store her shoe inventory. Warehouse space? Then, just yesterday, my dentist asked, “Is Rackspace like a Bed, Bath & Beyond thing?” Honestly, I can’t blame either of them.

Overwhelmingly, when customers attend our events, they respond on our surveys that they “learned about new Rackspace capabilities.” That’s great! But how do we tell the world who we are, and why we matter? Isn’t every company on the planet going through some kind of digital transformation? Isn’t every tech company talking about how they “solve your digital transformation challenges”? (Isn’t “digital transformation” the most overused technical buzz phrase of all time?) We try not to talk about ourselves and keep the focus on what we do for our customers. But sometimes it’s overly confusing to look at a customer’s story and put yourself in their shoes. Can’t we make this simple?

When I meet someone, I say my name, usually followed by something about myself. I speak simply and plainly, and I don’t try to impress anyone with fancy buzzwords. Perhaps that’s where we should begin, with a simple and plain introduction.

Hello. We’re Rackspace. We understand that you want to run a successful business and that IT can be a big source of pain and complexity. We help companies like yours determine the most effective way to continually manage technology. We provide professional consulting services (just like the big firms, but faster and more effectively) to understand your needs. We help you implement solutions, and we have an army of experts that will continually optimize and support your IT environment, so you can focus on making your customers happy.

At first we were a hosting company. Now we’re a comprehensive partner, managing environments on AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Alibaba. Once competitors, now partners — because we know that one cloud solution simply doesn’t fit all. (Don’t just take our word for it. Some very wise analysts agree!)

Through some smart acquisitions we now offer industry-leading expertise in applications. We understand the ever-present security threat, so we offer cutting edge security solutions that allow you to run your business — leaving the complexity to us. Today, we’re your comprehensive partner, guiding companies to the cloud with an integrated suite of professional and managed services.

Just like you, we continue to evolve. We’re Rackspace. Nice to meet you.


PS: We still offer fully managed dedicated hosting. Respect the past, build for the future.

Anna Kostroun is a senior marketing director at Rackspace. Anna grew up a preacher’s kid in rural Kansas where she learned about cow-tipping (but never participated) and honed her sales and marketing skills by convincing her parents she was staying out of trouble. Anna began her professional career in the tech industry in phone sales at Dell (long long ago) and has since gained extensive experience in all facets of marketing, with expertise in demand generation and customer engagement strategies. Her passion is positivity and helping people take things a little less seriously. Anna lives in Georgetown TX, with her husband, three daughters and three Whippets.

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