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5May 2017

Marketing’s role in the age of lean start-ups and agile design

Thursday, 30 March 2017, as published on NZ Business – the Owner Manager’s Magazine.

Why it’s vital to understand the best ways to reach and convert potential buyers before launching into markets – both local and overseas. 

Lean development and agile design is the process of testing a concept and product through the development process to learn early and quickly whether there’s a market for your great idea and whether it truly solves a problem faced by real people or businesses – before you’ve invested huge amounts to create and launch an elegant, fully developed product.

Throughout this process marketing can be overlooked, and with it a significant opportunity missed.

Marketing is an essential function even at the earliest stages of validation. Whether or not you call it marketing, you’re actually using marketing tools to uncover unmet needs and test your product, but it’s the other marketing activities that are often overlooked.

“Too often we see start-ups who’ve put their effort and resources into developing their app or product only to find that they have no plan to reach their market at launch. They come to us asking for help with the market validation and launch planning very late in the process,” says Nicole Crump, Managing Director at marketing consultancy Tactix.  “They’ve missed a crucial stage to develop and plan for how to get customers while they’ve been testing and developing just their product with potential customers.

“In conjunction with iterative product development and testing, these businesses need to be seeking insights around all the customer facing activities that will happen from launch.”

Integrating marketing into the lean development process from day one
Integrating marketing at the outset, will enable you to clearly be able to state what it is you have to offer and why it is better than other solutions or approaches your potential customers may be using – to plan the on-boarding process to get people using your software/product and the ongoing customer engagement process to keep them.  This is one of the biggest challenges that lean start-ups and software companies are facing – large and small, says Crump.

The aim is to have already figured out the best ways to reach and convert potential buyers before launching into market.

Tips for discovering and testing, rather than planning in isolation
When working with businesses these are some of the key areas we look at as a fundamental place to get started to give businesses the greatest chance of success when they launch.
You need to plan early on to capture the information you need. Get out and talk to potential customers early on to test your MPV (Minimum Viable Product) and validate the opportunity.

Use these discussions to discuss and plan the following:
•    The product/service you need to offer.
•    Your value proposition and easiest and most profitable customer segments to target.
•    Your planned marketing and sales channels.
•    Whether after-sales support will be required and how best to deliver this.
•    Find a great tool to manage your sales pipeline.
•    Make a plan for moving customers through the onboarding process so they can become paying customers.

3May 2017

US Partnership Builds International Capability

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with SW & Partners, a New York based company that specialises in providing strategies and on-the-ground support to companies and entrepreneurs wishing to enter the US market.

An increasing number of our NZ technology clients are ready to expand offshore and we now offer in-market support on the East Coast of the US.  Doing business abroad is fundamentally different than what we know here in NZ and quickly establishing relationships, business networks and local case studies is critical.  The first few months in-market can be make or break for tech companies and our new partnership means that Tactix can continue to help businesses prepare for a move abroad, and then offer in-market support on the East Coast of the US via SW & Partners.

SW& Partners New York office space

SWP office space

SW & Partners have desks in New York for companies from across the globe working in VR, AR, Immersive Content, AI and cutting-edge SaaS product development.  Be part of a networked community that is serious about doing business in New York City and across the globe.  

3May 2017

Sticky Screen Cleaner

Remind customers about your business!

It is important to stay top of mind with your customers and to remind them about the value you offer.  If your customers’ forget about you then they won’t do business with you.  Simple really!

Sometimes it’s good to have an item or two ready to give to people to remind them about you.   These don’t have to cost a lot of money, but we wanted to share with you our current top pick – Sticky Screen Cleaner.

Sticky Screen Cleaner
You can do a full colour print on this with your key message (reminding people why to do business with you!)  and it sticks to phones/phone covers and can be used to clean screens. We love it as it keeps you brand in the hands of your market, is useful, easy to travel with (size of a business card) and has a low per unit cost.

Let us know if you want to order any of these or if you’d like to look at other ways to keep your brand visible with your customers.

5Apr 2017

Tools to help you manage your prospects and customers

As you grow your business your customer database will grow. Having the right systems in place to track and manage your prospects and customers is fundamental. It’ll assist you in growing your business profitably and ensure you don’t miss opportunities. 

We work with a wide variety of business – from new software companies through to well established retail companies who share the same challenge in understanding;

  1. The best way to capture and manage data – to identify sales opportunities and understand customer behaviour
  2. What to say to prospects that will win their business and turn them into loyal customers
  3. What communications can be automated – especially around the on-boarding of new customers and how can this be done most efficiently.

We are fortunate that there are a lot of good software options available to answer these challenges, but with so many factors that go into choosing the best business applications, figuring out which is best for your business (now and into the future) can pose a bit of a dilemma.

To help you get started we’ve put together some tips for choosing a CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management Tool) based on the experience we’ve had with working through this process.

Finding the best business applications

  1. Take time to understand your core needs so you don’t carried away with the bells and whistles that aren’t really needed. Not only does it increase the subscription cost, you might find that the system is more complicated to use and takes precious time to learn and use.
    • Your core need may be just to hold all your customer data in one central place (so consider software like Insightly , Capsule, Zoho)  or it may extend into being able to send targeted communications based on prospect and customers behaviours that you would like automated (so you may look at Hubspot, Ubiquity Engage, or integration with software like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor to name a few)
  2. Look for a good fit now and into the future. Small businesses with two to twenty employees might be overwhelmed with a mid-market or enterprise-level solution, but if you’re forecasting big growth, make sure to you choose a solution that will scale with you.
  3. Look to the cloud. Cloud based software and apps benefit greatly from being accessible online and remotely, especially via mobile devices. Having a mobile app for your CRM will be especially important if you’ve got employees like sales people constantly on the move.
  4. Be realistic. As you are examining how much time, money, and additional resources implementing a new business application will take, make sure that you are looking at it realistically. You will need to include the amount of time it will take to set up, learn and integrate your new system with other systems.
  5. Check Integration. When you’re looking at cloud-based solutions, also make sure to check out what other applications it integrates with. This will be especially useful for things like accounting software when creating quotes, invoicing, billing and keeping track of customer sales, or marketing communications.
  6. Understand what workflows can be automated – for example, you may wish to create automated customer emails, triggered by an event.
  7. Look online for reviews and don’t be afraid to check out some free trials to see what they offer and how easy they are to use before you make a commitment to one system.

Getting the most from your data is the next step

We also with closely with our customers to help them understand what needs to be communicated and when – it’s all about engaging when the ‘moment is right’.

As well as looking at timing and messaging, we also consider how best to deliver this information. It might be a mix of blogs, emails, surveys or even direct calls. The options are endless but the businesses that are succeeding in growing and keeping their customers all have a couple of key things in common;

  • A good understanding of their sales funnel metrics
  • Strong customer on-boarding programs
  • Clear processes to logically take customers on a journey from first engagement, to qualifying their level of interest, making the sale and retaining their business.

If you’d like support in mapping how to engage with your customers throughout their customer life-cycle, what to say and systems that could support you to achieve this then let us know.  


16Mar 2016

LinkedIn – setting up a free Company Page

What is a LinkedIn Company Page?

LinkedIn is a professional online community that makes it easy to find and connect with people that may benefit your business. If used properly, LinkedIn can be a great platform for the growth of your company and a Company Page helps LinkedIn members learn
about your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.

It’s all about joining the right Groups and connecting with the right people.

What do I need to create a Company Page?

To be eligible to create a company page first make sure your company does not already have one set-up, and read the requirements. Requirements include that you must have a personal LinkedIn account to create your Company Page from, and that you have a
distinct work email domain. Your Company Page will be set-up as an offset of your personal page as LinkedIn is about linking business to people and making connections,not solely about product promotion.

How do I set-up my Company Page?

Setting up your Company Page can be completed in a few simple steps:

  1. At the top of your homepage move cursor over Interests and select Companies.
  2. Click Create in the Create a Company Page box on the right.
  3. Enter your company’s official name and your work email address.
  4. Click ‘Continue’ and enter your company information.
  5. A link will be sent to the email address provided; use this to verify your account.
  6. You will need to enter your company details to make up your company profile. This includes contact details and basic information about your company such as the industry and number of staff. This is where you can add administrators and link your Company Page up with personal LinkedIn contacts.
  7. Once you are happy with your profile click ‘Publish’ to make your Company Page go live. It is better to set up a full profile before inviting all your contacts to check it out. Think about what your audience will see and how this will impact
    on the image projected of your business.
Promoting your company page

Now that your Company Page is set-up, start thinking of some ways you can actively promote it. Here are some ideas to generate interest for your page:

  1. Get your staff to create their own personal LinkedIn page and link to the company page.
  2. ‘Join’ and ‘Follow’ groups or pages.
  3. ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ other Group’s’ news updates as other groups and people on LinkedIn will see your activity, creating more exposure of your brand.
  4. Update your own news on your Company Page Overview. Here you can attach links and choose specific groups to share your news with.
  5. Add LinkedIn’s Share plugins to your sites. The two most beneficial plugins to start with are the ‘Share on LinkedIn plugin’ that allows people to share your website with their LinkedIn contacts, and the ‘Follow Company plugin’ that sits as a link on your website or email marketing to instantly become a follower of your Company Page.
  6. Use Email to Send Invitations That Convert
    • You can send out invitations to get your contacts to join your LinkedIn group. Rather than using the LinkedIn template, you’ll get much better success rates by crafting a more targeted message.
    • Include a reason why they should join and make sure this aligns with your business’s marketing message
    • What can they expect
    • Invite them to participate
    • Brand your email with your logo and be sure to use a clear call to action,such as “Join Now.”
  7. Who do you want to meet? Make a target list of companies and people you want to connect with then use the information you gather to send thoughtful,smart messages.
  8. Create engaging content: it needs to be both useful and worthy of a discussion,often it is the simple things that create the most interest.
  9. Remember most people won’t ‘Like’ or leave a comment. Some will just be watching, listening and learning from those who are taking part.

So keep posting and don’t be discouraged!

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