Follow me as I map out the marketing planning process for Objitec Ltd. Our small software as a service (SAAS) business that offers a number of cloud based software applications to small / medium sized businesses.
In terms of the marketing planning process, all marketing efforts should apparently start with a marketing plan. According to Dee Blick’s excellent book The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses For Your Small Business the process starts with an audit of your marketing activities to date. So here goes…
Audit Of Marketing Activities To Date
This should be quite brief as we’ve undertaken almost no marketing activities to date.
One business referred us to a new customer and that went well
We’ve emailed approximately 10 squash clubs, which resulted in 2 demos and one sign up. One of the demo clubs decided that they wanted to stay with their manual system for now but might be in touch in the future. The other said that they would be interested as soon as we complete a project to automatically switch court lights on and off directly from the booking system. We’ve also started the process of maintaining a marketing email list. We signed up as a free customer to MailChimp an email marketing / automation provider. The product / service they provide seems very good – just need to focus on building more subscribers.
Each month I complete a business and metrics report to highlight our activities and progress. This gets published as a blog post on this web site and is posted to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and occasionally LinkedIn. We have @objitec and @planitbookit Twitter accounts. We also have Facebook pages for Objitec and PlanIt-BookIt. Objitec is the company name. PlanIt-BookIt is the name of our core booking product. To-date we’ve had a few followers from our social media activities but no new customers.
I personally haven’t done any of this. However, a friend of mine who is also a software salesperson did make a few cold calls on my behalf. This was closely linked to our direct mail activities.
We have three promotional web sites. This web site, Objitec.com to represent the company and what we do. PlanIt-BookIt to promote our core online booking system product and online-booking-system.net a one pager with the goal of trying to get search engine traffic from the keyword “online booking system” directly to our PlanIt-BookIt demo and sign-up pages. We have had some interest in our demo system because of these pages.
So, as I stated earlier little efforts in terms of marketing activities. Direct mailing has been our most effective means of getting new customers so far. I’m a firm believer in content marketing though and therefore I intend to push this area hard over the next year or so.
Appraisal Of Products And Services
The next item in the marketing plan according to Dee’s book is an appraisal of products and services.
The small business that thrive and continue to be desired by their target audiences are the ones that place a value on continually improving what they offer.
This are of the plan focuses on two key areas of a small business. Innovation and customer focus.
There are two objitec products currently in production…
PlanIt-BookIt is a online booking and membership management system. It has been built and designed in such away that it can be adapted to work with almost any business that takes bookings.
CloudApp is an order management and costing system for small to medium businesses. At its core is a comprehensive customer database. Currently it has modules that can track orders by customers. For businesses that take repeat orders it also estimates when your customer is next expected to order. Giving you the chance to be pro-active and to call the customer at the time an order is due.
It also has a costing module. The costing module enables finished goods to be costed based on the raw materials and other costs that are involved in the manufacture. For manufactured products that come in different sizes but otherwise use the same components. Costs can be recalculated simply by adjusting the dimensions of the end product.
Future Changes To PlanIt-BookIt
There are two areas of PlanIt-BookIt that we intend to improve over the next 6 months. First is to enable our customers to offer fitness class bookings via PlanIt-BookIt. Second is to automatically switch court or other facility lights on via the booking system.
The fitness class bookings came about as a requirement from one of our major customers. But it’s also something that we feel will be of use to many other businesses. We feel a £30 per month additional subscription fee would be appropriate fitness class bookings.
Below is a screen shot of how we envisage fitness class bookings to work.
Many prospective customers that we have demoed PlanIt-BookIt to have had an additional requirement of triggering court lighting. This is the motivation for this enhancement.
Automatic court light switching will require installation of software on customer sites. We would need to charge a fee for the installation. Our customers would need to purchase the relay switching hardware and then organise their own electrician to wire the device to their lights.
Both the above changes should be beneficial to our profit margin.
Future Changes to CloudApp
We’ve recently had an enquiry from a flat spring manufacturer. They require software to assist them with their job management. This would be an ideal additional module add-on to CloudApp. Completing it should result in a new sale. So, we intend to pursue this request shortly.
Identify Your Key Competitors
I had to think long and hard about going public with this one. Could publishing my competitors damage my business. I came to the conclusion that it probably wouldn’t make much difference. After all most people about to purchase something will already be aware of competing products. Also, I’m pretty confident that our product is better on quality. Plus going with our product means that you get to work personally with me. What a bonus!
Club Solution by Globus Data has some kind of demo.