For the first time in our development history I’m going to make a prediction for the coming year. We’ll check it January 1, 2013 and see if I was right. Right now, we are “on deck” for the first year of “real” marketing and sales for this company. Heretofore, most of our efforts have been geared toward development. To be sure, that process will continue. In fact, the famous phrase from the movie about Facebook’s beginning (“The Social Network” http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com/) applies to us. When, in a deposition, Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook) heard the comment “. . . when you complete the development. . .” Zuckerberg quickly interrupted and flatly stated: “That’s the beauty of what we’re doing here – we’ll NEVER finish developing.” In a single sentence, he captured the essence of virtually every company like ours, in the IT world: We NEVER truly “finish” a product. We are in a constant and continual state of development and improvement, reacting to often-sharp changes in the market place as technology constantly shifts, moves and changes while both consumer and businesses react to those changes. Companies like ours must remain flexible and change to meet competition if we expect to survive.
OUR WEAKNESS IS ALSO OUR STRENGTH
Our greatest weakness is the fact that we are under-capitalized. While it’s true we had a good amount of seed capital to start our development, it’s also true that the amount received was only about 1/4 of the amount needed if we were going to develop, start-to-finish, the entire system we envisioned in a somewhat predictable time frame.
Our seed capital was used up by the beginning of 2009, well before our development was complete. This forced us to become a very lean, very efficient company in terms of managing the sparse cash we could bring in to complete the development. This difficulty was actually one of the best things that happened to us. It forced us to do a very careful analysis of what is REALLY selling in the IT market place, fine-tune our service offering accordingly, and especially it caused us to develop marketing systems that can be operated on a shoe-string budget. These developments comprise some of the most important innovations that will drive what I see as a very dynamic, very robust, and especially fast-growing company during 2012. Without these experiences, we may not be in as good a position as we are right now to kick off this year with an effective marketing campaign.
PREDICTIONS FOR 2012
By the end of this year, I predict we’ll accomplish the following:
- Deploy the following as fully cloud-based self-service applications: Voice broadcast, text broadcast, fax broadcast and bulk email (1st half of the year).
- Have a full-time staff of developers who have set deployment dates for our Targeted Matching™ search system plus all other systems that have been planned and/or started to date, namely, the following systems:
- Discounted gift certificates
- Text-to-speech & speech-to-text
- 1-to-1 Messaging
- Talking Search Engine
- Gross monthly sales will be stable by the end of 2012 and we’ll either see a clear path to exceeding $1 million monthly in steady, reliable and predictable sales, or we will have already accomplished that goal.
- We will be in the process of providing services in more than one non-USA country and be well on the way to becoming a multi-national company.
These are lofty goals. But I’m confident in them because so much of our infrastructure has already been built over the past 6 years. Also our business model has been very clearly defined, especially during this past year, to the point where we know exactly where we’re going, what needs to be developed, and how to get there based on careful analysis of the market place coupled with our own experiences since March 2006 when the first code was written for this project.
Every week or two, I get the same question from different people: “What about competition? Aren’t you getting to market TOO LATE? What if somebody else beats you to the punch?” These are good and valid questions. They have been raised over and over so many times (almost weekly) during the past several years that I decided I would begin writing a series of articles to deal specifically with these concerns.
To answer the question whether we’re worried that a competitor will knock us out of the market place before we even get started, the answer is: NO! That’s a logically absurd conclusion based on an irrational fear of competitors. It’s like saying “because there’s another fast food restaurant in town, I can’t open one and make it successful.” The marketplace if vast. I have known since inception that competition drives innovation. Sure it’s NICE to be the “first and only”, but it isn’t necessary for major success in a free enterprise system. This is especially true in our industry of Internet Technology. Naturally we are vitally concerned about each and every company that does something even remotely close to what we do. WHY? Because they tell us a lot about the marketplace. From them we learn what can and what cannot be sold. It shows what the business and consumer customers really want, need and are willing to PAY for. It helps us evaluate our own performance so we can stay up with, or ahead of, our competitors.
The articles I write concerning our competitors will also give me a great opportunity to continually drive home the main purpose of our company, and point out the differences between “us” and “them”. In this manner, all my readers will gain a better understanding of this company and why I continue to believe we’ll be a driving force in bringing much-needed relief to small and mid-sized companies as they try to compete for their share of business against large multi-national firms. We’re making it possible for our Clients to do things they simply cannot do without us: Cross-platform, multi-channel promotional campaigns to their existing customers and new prospects (from a SINGLE application).
And with that, the next section provides a quick analysis of a competitor I just learned about from a prospective customer. On Friday, a prospect called me after viewing our 10-minute MVBL presentation and asked if we’re doing the same thing as . . .
I had never heard of this company so I studied their website. This is a successful IT-based marketing company. Within 1 to 2 years, we should be doing as well or better than them, financially! The answer to his question about whether we are doing the same or similar as Infusionsoft.com, is … NOPE! In fact, there are a couple of services we DO share in common. BUT, the core purpose of our two companies is completely different. Let me show you the difference.
Infusionsoft Purpose: This company is designed to provide a method for small to mid-sized companies to more effectively track the sales pipeline (AKA Sales Funnel) of their leads (i.e. prospective customers) as well as follow up with existing customers to maximize new sales opportunities.
They accomplish this by using their own CRM which is integrated with an email marketing system that automatically sends notifications, reminders, promotional material, etc. to prospects and customers, while at the same time integrating the company’s online storefront with both email and CRM functions. Thus, sales and marketing efforts are combined into a single application. (But…not “all” marketing efforts are included here as you’ll see.)
The scope of their communications platform is limited to email communications. They seem to have a nicely organized system that does a good job of integrating the 3 functions of CRM/Email/Shopping Cart.
Now compare this company with us.
GlobalTmail™ Purpose: We are designed from the ground up as a communications platform focused on combining voice broadcast & remote telecom services, SMS, FAX, email and search-result notifications to allow our Clients to easily and inexpensively locate new leads & customers plus communicate in a cross-platform, multi-channel method with their existing customers, members, students, employees, contacts, etc. We’re designed to accomplish these purposes at extremely affordable rates. We enable our Clients to track everything they do through us with our own CRM. Our Client database is not limited to “just” businesses, but include organizations of all types, politicians, charities, schools and even individuals.
Do you see the difference? Where “they” combine CRM-Email-Ecommerce (i.e. Shopping Cart) functions and focus on processing the leads and ad responses from their customers (which have been acquired through other means), “WE” put a lot more emphasis on getting those responses (leads & inquiries) for our Clients in the first place.
We also provide a much more robust set of tools with which to communicate with people, recognizing that the entire shift in the marketing place for the past couple of years, and well into the future is “going mobile”. This means the future belongs to cell phones and mobile devices (not just email as a communications platform). We’re enabling our Clients to reach out into the cell phones of their contacts, emphasize the necessity of actually TALKING to prospects and customers, while supporting those very human interactions with ALL of the other IT-based communications tools (text, fax, email, streaming media, search).
Having explained the difference between us and Infusionsoft.com, I must also caution you about one of the most valuable marketing lessons we learned in the past couple of years: AVOID INFORMATION OVERLOAD!
Our system is massive to say the least. That’s one reason it has taken many years to develop to the stage we are right now. After all applications are deployed the “information overload” isn’t so bad because teaching people what we do is more DEMONSTRATION than EXPLANATION.
So for now, for most people and prospects, it’s advisable to simply show them what we can do “today”, and wait for another time to explain what’s coming. Of course, we also show a couple features that are coming soon, but don’t go into depth with the explanations anymore.
For instance, right now, if comparing ourselves to Infusionsoft, I would simply explain that THEIR company focuses on communicating with customers through email using their CRM and e-commerce solution to track activity. OUR system, by comparison, focuses on locating the customers, prospects and leads for our Clients to deal with in the first place.
Can you see the huge difference in explaining what the 2 companies do? In a very real sense, right now, our companies don’t compete at all, but in fact can compliment each other. We find the leads – they process the leads. Simple.
Of course, as we progress through this year, our functions will become much more complete. Thus, we have the condition I expressed at the beginning of this article: CONSTANT AND CONTINUAL DEVELOPMENT!
Keep reading this blog. I’ll be reporting on numerous other quasi-competitors. To date, we have NOT found a direct competitor. However, I expect we’ll find some. When we do that is NOT cause for panic or undue concern. It merely gives us the opportunity to improve what we’re doing.
. . . . and now, off to enjoy my New Year’s Day and prepare for the best year EVER for GlobalTmail™.