Section V. The Marketing Plan
Overall Marketing Strategy
The proposed new venture’s Web content monetization system has the ability to quickly transform idle digital assets and content into cash. Differentiated from its competitors by the ability to personalize searches and define bundling of content on the fly with a personalization engine, which is a state-of-the-art technology developed recently (Ruokonen, Nummela, Puumalainen, Saarenketo, 2008) the proposed system will be able to determine pricing levels as well by visitor (Shapiro, 2009). The unique value proposition for the proposed venture is as follows: Turning digital assets and content into cash using state-of-the-art Web content monetization systems, our company seeks to be the leading provider of monetization solutions globally. At the center of any excellent organization is the integration of technology, content and innovation all focused on the customer (Slater, 2001). Selling the proposed system as a means to quickly gain incremental revenue for content producers will make the definitions of Return on Investment (ROI), even in pro forma levels, positive. Ultimately for the marketing strategy to be effective the value of a solution must be quantified in terms of dollars earned or saved, time saved, or significant reductions in process-related errors over time (Rosen, Schroeder, Purinton, 1988).
The proposed price is $150,000 for each system. It is anticipated that an additional $600,000 in services will be required to install, integrate into content management repositories and databases, and customize the system for the unique needs of content producers. Total revenues per deal could potentially average $750,000, potentially a little less if less integration to content management systems are required. As this system is highly unique with its order capture and fulfillment front-end for selling content, the price is justified given the revenue generating potential. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems from primary competitors including EMC (Documentum), Microsoft Corporation, Open Text and Oracle are all priced in comparable range of the $150,000 list price of the baseline system. Autonomy Corp PLC produces an enterprise search and knowledge management system that sells for $225,000, and its use of linguistic modeling, and no support for order capture as of today, make this a potential, not existing, competitor. The pricing strategy for the proposed system at $150,000 places in squarely against existing Web Content Management (WCM) systems, yet is highly differentiated from the with its order capture and revenue management front-end applications.
C. The Selling Cycle
Beginning with public relations and social media efforts to get the proposed venture known, the sales cycle will be organized into upper funnel and lower funnel sales activities. Upper funnel sales activities will concentrate on getting the brand of the company know its unique position in the market, its differentiation and unique value position. Weekly webinars will also be held to promote thought leadership in the industry, a key factor in successful high tech marketing (Rosen, Schroeder, Purinton, 1988). These upper funnel activities will be transitioned to lead generation through the use of webinars and opt-in e-mails, follow-ups from webinars, and the development of sales leads from events. Lower funnel activities in the selling cycle will be prequalification through a discussion of the content providers’ monetization goals. The sales teams’ discussion with prospects will work through an ROI Calculator that will also be used to calculate payback period based on their subscriber base, customer churn factors, pricing for content, and number of content items. A proposal will be generated, given to the prospect and followed up on periodically to close the sale.
D. Sales Tactics
The proposed venture will rely entirely on a direct sales force as the complexity of this solution requires excellent knowledge of its use, and its benefits. The initial plans for the sales force are to have four in the U.S. For Eastern Region, Southern Region, Central Region and Western Region. A Sales Vice President will be hired with expertise in enterprise content management (ECM) systems, and the sales representatives will spend a week every six months in corporate headquarters in training. Quotas will be assigned based on content provider count in territories.
E. Advertising and Sales Promotions
As this is an enterprise application aimed specifically at the CEO and CFO of content providers, the advertising and sales promotion will be highly targeted to their roles in organizations. The use of direct mail with innovative ROI Calculators that in an instant can be used to provide these executives with insights into how much revenue they can produce from using the system will be crucial. In addition to these activities, a professionally done Website where the weekly webinars will be hosted from, and a list of in-person events the company is sponsoring will also be provided. CFOS and CEOs are the ones in content providers making the decisions of whether to monetize their content. Advertising and sales promotion must concentrate on events where these specific professionals are in an attempt to gain their interest and potential trial of the Web content monetization system. Table 1: Proposed Launch Budget breaks down by line item the essential steps to launch the proposed Web content monetization system.
Table 1: Proposed Launch Budget
Website Development include support for Webinars and landing pages for lead generation
Series of advertisements in CFO and CEO Magazine
Production of a series of testimonial videos for YouTube of early adopter companies — interviews with their CEO and CFO
Sponsorship of content provider Industry Events
Event Marketing Strategies to gain in-person selling time with CEOs and CFOs
Using social networks including Facebook and Twitter, in addition to blogging extensively about customers’ success stories will be the primary focus of public relations. Additionally a list of magazine editors, industry analytics and financial analyst which cover this area of the enterprise content management market will also be periodically briefed on new technologies and initiatives. The proposed venture will make news by concentrating on the new product development cycle and quickly launching new products, so the product’s rapid progression, as is the case with many successfully start-ups, will be the news (Coleman, O’Connor, 2008).
G. Customer Service
As the software will be delivered on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, which is known for the speed at which applications can be developed on (Erdogmus, 2007); customer service will concentrate on purely the functionality of the app. Customer service levels will include basic troubleshooting, followed by escalation of order capture and payment systems, and finally to advanced support which includes discussions with the programmers who produced the application itself.
H. Warranty or Guarantee Policies
Warranty on the proposed system will be one year after installation, and service upgrades and a service contract will be available yearly at 16% of the system purchase price. Competitors in this arena are charging 22% for the same services, and these include EMC and Oracle. The applications will also have a one year guarantee on them which is also common in this area of enterprise software. The greatest compliant from companies who have ECM systems installed today is the high price of maintenance. By pricing the maintenance fees at 16% this will significantly undercut the majority of competitors and create goodwill immediately with new customers.
The proposed system will be sold through a direct sales model and will be delivered using the SaaS platform. Customers will have the option of having the application installed on their own servers or accessed over secured VPN connections from the company’s servers. Using this approach will significantly streamline the upgrade process for existing applications in the field and also enable more effective selling and services strategies globally. The distribution of the app entirely online will also reduce operating costs, increasing margins in the process.
Andersen, R. (2008). The Rhetoric of Enterprise Content Management (ECM): Confronting the Assumptions Driving ECM Adoption and Transforming Technical Communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 17(1), 61-87.
Gerry Coleman, & Rory V. O’Connor. (2008). An investigation into software development process formation in software start-ups. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 21(6), 633-648.
Hakan Erdogmus. (2007). On-Demand Enterprise Services: Where’s the Catch? IEEE Software, 24(4), 5.
Knight, G.A. And Cavusgil, S.T. (2004), “Innovation, organizational capabilities, and the born global firm,” Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 124-41.
Ornit Raz, & Peter A Gloor. (2007). Size Really Matters-New Insights for Start-ups’ Survival. Management Science, 53(2), 169-177.
Rosen, D.E., Schroeder, J.E. And Purinton, E.F. (1988), “Marketing high tech products: lessons in customer focus from the marketplace,” Academy of Marketing Science Review, Vol. 98 No. 6, pp. 1-17.
Michael Shapiro. (2009). Open for Business. Columbia Journalism Review, 48(2), 29-35.
Mika Ruokonen, Niina Nummela, Kaisu Puumalainen, & Sami Saarenketo. (2008). Market orientation and internationalisation in small software firms. European Journal of Marketing, 42(11/12), 1294-1315.
Slater, S.F. (2001), “Putting it all together: market orientation, innovation, research, and customers,” in Mohr, J. (Ed.), Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp. 169-71.
Smagalla, D. (2004). The Truth About Software Startups. MIT Sloan Management Review, 45(2), 7-7.
Florian Stahl, Marc-Frederic Schafer, & Wolfgang Maass. (2004). Strategies for Selling Paid Content on Newspaper and Magazine Web Sites: An Empirical Analysis of Bundling and Splitting of News and Magazine Articles. The International Journal on Media Management, 6(1,2), 59-66.
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