SaaS Market Expansion Strategies: Part1

Hanson Marketing is engaged by a provider of Cloud Computing, SaaS-based software solutions. The company has gained an outstanding client list and its owners have serious industry pedigrees. Facing a leveling off of sales revenue, they approached Hanson Marketing to guide them toward emerging, high-growth market sectors; and to position the company’s leaders as industry experts in such vital topics as Data Privacy and Data Governance. And that’s just Phase One!

After assessing the company’s message — its media outreach, product positioning, social image and selling cycle — Hanson Marketing evaluated a short list of industry sectors, international expansion markets, and then recommended target list.

Once we’ve honed the company’s image — building expert-level credentials for its leadership in the vital areas of data privacy and data governance, refreshing its spoken, written and Web messaging — we will hit the airwaves and the road to meet influencers in each of the new market sectors. To come? New revenue in new market sectors… meeting our goal. Stay tuned for more as our project develops.

Juarez Convention and Visitors Bureau: Marketing Fort Apache

News from one of the world’s most dangerous cities illustrates the winning and optimistic spirit shown by business leaders in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. While economic revitalization hums along across the bridge in El Paso, Texas — upgraded rail transit corridors, expanded military facilities, well-endowed university research centers, livable and affordable neighborhoods — Juarez remains in Fort Apache mode.

Civic boosters break ground this month on a convention center and baseball stadium “macroplaza” in the heart of the city, to forestall the creeping influence of nightlife-oriented businesses. The ballpark will house Los Indios, Juarez’ pro team.

Give high marks to this convis bureau, who’s taking back the vital core of what will again become a livable, safe, and enjoyable destination. They anticipate the return of a wholly productive and progressive bi-national metroplex, benefiting local citizens and myriad international business people who live and trade every day in El Paso-Juarez.

Credit El Paso-Juarez Now March 2011 issue.

“Blue Ocean Strategy” Passes Page 69 Test

Next up in my Page 69 test, another valued part of Hanson Marketing’s library: Blue Ocean Strategy.

Our client, a software developer who’s seeking expansion into new markets, can win coveted word-of-mouth success in part by applying its solutions to common pressure points found in emerging sector leaders, in this case CIOs.

Marshall McLuhan said to turn to page 69 of a book and, if you like it, read the rest. Let’s see what Blue Ocean Strategy Page 69 has to say about it:

“What is the context in which your product or service is used? … Can you identify the pain points? How can you eliminate them through a complementary product or service offering?”

“Borders and Barnes & Noble … redefined the scope of the services they offer… transforming the product they sell from the book itself to the pleasure of reading and intellectual exploration…”

So there you have it – responding to pressure points for decision makers and their customers with solutions that appeal not only to functional, but to emotional needs. A company such as our client can convey its expertise to win the word of mouth endorsements it needs to vault into a position of influence to shape policies, define best practices, and write technology standards.

The Americas Business Forum in Los Angeles

I attended the 3rd annual The Americas Business Forum at UCLA on March 2. The LA Chamber organizes this great event, along with the US Foreign Commercial Service and UCLA Anderson School of Management.

As a channel builder for manufacturer-exporters, I seek the fastest, most margin-friendly route to market for my clients. So, for me the most valuable part of the event was to talk with senior foreign commercial service diplomats who are in charge of building US export channels throughout the Americas: from Canada to Chile. In a round-robin of talks, they laid out challenges and opportunities that await US exporters in their respective countries.

As exporters, it’s easy to salivate over the young, growing population and the emerging consumer classes in countries the size of Brazil. The region’s economic growth rate outpaces that of the US right now, too. But, the experts urged listeners to go in with eyes wide open. In fact, the senior commercial officer from Brazil dropped one of the best one-liners of the day: “”Brazil is the country of the future and always will be”.

Collectively, attendees learn all facets of the countries: political trends, challenges in infrastructure, levels of bureaucracy, and which industry sectors are best prospects. Those senior officers stay for a second day of one-on-one counseling sessions, too.

High points:

  • – learning about the Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama, and its ideal role as a sales channel turnkey site. Engaging the services of an all-in-one representative company in Colon, I can launch my clients’ products in any or all countries in Latin America. Granted, margin discounts would reflect such turnkey services, but the efficiency with which a small or midsized US exporter could reach multiple markets probably can’t be beat. I’ve got three clients in mind right now, all makers of consumer goods, and will report back throughout the upcoming selection and retention process.
  • – hearing about Chile’s consistent, pro-business growth and its strategic ties with US partners in higher education, finance and agriculture, among others. Don’t forget that Chileans are recovering from that massive quake in 2010, just over a year ago. Part of the opportunity for US concerns lies within the re-construction efforts there, via government tenders.

UCLA’s student body is truly the Face of the Americas, and meeting on this elegant campus to talk about the future of regional trade only added to the inspiration of the event. Bookmark the event’s website, and plan to attend the 4th annual!

Is Bartering Right for Your Business?

This time-tested form of trading, aka reciprocal trade, is more nimble than ever, thanks to Web-based solutions. These trading sites enabling the connection between parties, and management of transaction credits on a broader scale than ever.

"I say, let's swap!"


Income tax rules apply; both parties must report the fair market value of goods and services exchanged. (IRS Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. Barter exchange companies’ fees cover things like sending out IRS paperwork. Read a concise explanation at International Reciprocal Trade Association’s info site.

I see special value in the bartering model for community- and locally-based service companies and manufacturers. A friend of mine owns a marketing services company, and has relied upon bartering to build out his new work space. He’s also exchanged services for advertising for non-profits, too.

Sites:
International Monetary Systems at IMS Barter.com
BizXchange at bizx.com
American Commerce Exchange at acxbarter.com

Online Communities: “Friend” Them or …

“A groundswell is rising among your customers. Are you ready?” In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, there’s a business book called Groundswell that is worth every dime and minute you spend on it.

Buy This Book.

I recommend it often to clients and colleagues as an excellent primer on how to tame and master the art of social media marketing.

In Groundswell, two of Forrester Research’s top analysts show you how to turn the force of customers connecting to your own advantage. There’s targeted, memorable advice in the book, backed up with real-world ROI to prove it works.

Groundswell is more highlighted, tagged and dog-eared than any other book within reach of my desk.

Sales Channel Communication Tools

Among the many online and automated forms of communicating with channel partners recommended by Hanson Marketing — all of which are intended to ENHANCE and not REPLACE person-to-person contact, right class? — two are particular favorites. We prefer them for their quick and responsive handling and speed (just like your favorite sports car)

NING: Huh? NING is your very own social networking site… like a custom Facebook. This nifty social marketing tool became part of my channel marketing toolkit when our hard-working PR agency pitched it… and at a price tag of FREE, I have expanded its function by inviting channel resellers to join. What is it? Take a look here.

Constant Contact: Back when dinosaurs roamed Earth, my weekly outbound correspondence was via automated fax transmissions. All the news fit to print on one, black and white, curly piece of paper. Now, Constant Contact and similar solutions unleash a can of powerful, quasi-personal communications tools. A channel leader can reach all or parts of his active partner roster, with rich visuals, polls, and calls to action. A good reseller becomes a great one, when armed with industry- and product-specific info, and a brief, valuable newsletter does the job.

Tip: Think of what you’d say to the channel partner if you had 5 minutes, face-to-face… then put it in writing and send it!

TechAmerica San Diego’s 2011 Trends and Forecasts

Hanson Marketing co-hosted the kickoff session for TechAmerica San Diego’s Marketing and Sales Roundtable this week. Participants got to witness the San Diego debut of TechAmerica Foundation’s CyberCities Report, and were treated to an informative market trend report, courtesy of UPS.

Paul Weddle, Director of High-Tech Sector Enterprise Sales for UPS, was guest speaker. Kevin Carroll, Regional Director for TechAmerica presented the CyberCities Report, a concise summary of research into tech sector growth around the nation, in terms of jobs, salaries, and new business activity.

Takeaways from Paul’s talk:
China’s economic growth plan includes strong incentives to move ODM operations to its growing inland metropolises… feeds the nation’s employment engine, and seeds regional economic development. I’d also watch how China builds up its aviation and rail infrastructure, to enable and accommodate this distribution of the nation’s manufacturing sector wealth.

E-waste laws in the US now exist in 23 states, signalling mandatory recycling fees upon purchase of goods, but also a sign of growth for a new service sector: outsourced recycling operations.

SaaS solutions are driving corporate IT spending levels back to pre-2010 levels; 70% of CIOs polled expect to adopt some form of Cloud Computing solutions. That’s great news for providers of professional services and consulting. Again, outsourcing potential.

Logistics = opportunity for innovation. As a customer service differentiator, a driver for cost savings and improved efficiency, and as a competitive advantage. A topic near and dear to UPS’s heart… in fact, their new tagline says “we (heart) logistics”.

The event is the first of six which will be hosted by the Marketing and Sales Roundtable, with topics ranging from “Cold Calls No More…” to “Power Up Mobile Marketing” to “Sales on Steroids”. They’re great events for brushing up on skills and exchanging bright ideas with other, area tech pros.

Follow TechAmerica San Diego Marketing and Sales Roundtable on LinkedIn.

Put Trade Agreements to Work for Your Company

The International Trade Administration at the US Department of Commerce takes the lead on Market Access and Compliance (MAC), to assist exporters expand their share of the global export market.

MAC’s core mission is to aggressively support US business interests abroad, leveraging diplomatic, law enforcement and trade agreements with foreign trading partners. The ITA team, located throughout the US and at overseas offices, has a great track record of staying in lockstep with US companies involved in global trade. They think and act with a sense of urgency, which those of us who’ve worked in the startup sector can truly appreciate.

Trade barriers are legal (tariffs, embargos) and illegal (piracy and counterfeiting) The work done by the MAC division at ITA is shaped by real-world challenges faced by American exporters and workers.

What we commonly define as “Barriers” is open to debate, but nearly all of us might apply the term to any of these three scenarios:

procurements by foreign governments that favor particular suppliers

higher taxes in foreign markets than similar, locally produced products

difficulty protecting or enforcing IP in a particular country

The more complex, unique, or technical your company’s solutions, the more you need to know about MAC.

Check out yet another valuable federal resource, TCC On-Line (www.trade.gov/tcc). Need to report a trade barrier? Visit the site and click on Report A Barrier.

CES Wraps in Vegas; 140,000+ Attended

CEA, owners and producers of the annual Consumer Electronics Show event, has another one under their belt, one to brag about.

Major technology trends emerged from the CES show floor, including the launch of more than 80 tablets, wireless 4G LTE, connected TV technologies, smart appliances — featured for the first time in show history — and electric vehicles.

Ford Motor’s Alan Mulally unveiled the company’s first electric car at the 2011 International CES with its Ford Focus Electric. Interesting to note that Ford opted to hype this new product line via this consumer venue, alongside the annual car show.

Of note? More than 30,000 international participants… that’s 20% of total headcount. This global technology gathering featured more innovation, more news, more social media buzz and more international attendance than any other show in CES history.

The International CES will return to Las Vegas next January 10-13, 2012.

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