Experienced company marketing new service
I work for a company called Brainwave Media Limited, we are a corporate video production company and have been running successfully for nearly 20 years now. Our typical client would be a multinational pharmaceutical company for whom we would make a series of short documentaries for example.
Around a year ago, as part of our plans to grow the business we started to roll out a new service aimed specifically at small to medium sized businesses offering video in packages with specific prices etc. We were confident that with our experience and some pilot projects that we could turn around a high number of these videos each week to increase our cash flow. As many of us do, we seem to invoice a small number of large invoices in year and thought it would be really useful to have a large number of small invoices to back that up.
We are still trying to get this new side of our business up and running and have had very little uptake so far. We market ourselves using local networking groups both in person and their websites. We also use email marketing shots to targeted companies within our area but are still struggling to make any impact.
We have had the good fortune to never have had to 'sell' ourselves as all our work has always come through referrals and so with this new venture we are in somewhat uncharted territory.
We would greatly appreciate any advice from people working in a similar area with success or comments on where we may be going wrong with our marketing or product. Do you think this service is worth continuing with as it is or should we be re-thinking our plans?
The website for this new service is http://www.streamme.co.uk please let me know any thoughts on what we could be doing better.
Many thanks in anticipation!
I think what you've put together is a great idea, one which could find its market and be a real moneymaker, but, at the moment, appears to lack an adequate "front end." By this I mean the mechanism which feeds business into your sales cycle, thereby delivering a large enough number of prospects that, even if you only close 1 in 10 sales, will make a viable business.
Basically if you want 20 productions a month, you need to be having 200 face-to-face meetings with serious prospects. Not a casual chat at a social function but an actual sit down meeting in someone's place of business. This could easily be an individual's full-time job and may be exactly what's needed to get your package idea launched. Once it is, it should be easier to attract new business via an expanded circle of clientele's word of mouth.
Something you might also consider would be a campaign of (postal) direct mail -- when done properly far more effective than email. You could create a series of postcards with themes like "How one Essex businessman increased sales by making his own web video." A month later send out "How a Salisbury spa got the attention of hundreds of new customers." Just about everyone in business wants to learn more about how someone else achieved success, even if they think they already know the techniques themselves. This method also provides a great way to promote yourself and your services while seemingly talking about someone else.
One thing which may be causing some reluctance is that much of your pitch appears to revolve around the business owner or his appointed employee appearing as the on-camera spokesperson. This can be a very frightening and off-putting idea for most people. It's usually the "David Brent" (The Office/UK, or "Michael Scott" in The Office/US) kind of boss who thinks he could look at a camera and talk for several minutes. So you should have a professional voice-over option for those who might want a video, but are camera shy.
A final bit of advice: your low end price is too low. In my humble opinion there's little difference for a business owner between the decision to purchase a service for £500 versus £750 so go for more money.
Another possibility is that when you sat down and decided...
"...we seem to invoice a small number of large invoices in year and thought it would be really useful to have a large number of small invoices to back that up."
You were simply a bit off track by putting what YOU wanted ahead of what the businesses in your area needed?
Perhaps economic circumstances are currently such that the level of customer you wanted to attract has had to cut out discretionary spending on elements like video production and that no matter how much you try to promote this service, it's a solution looking for a problem that currently doesn't exist with the decision makers in your area? And believe me, trying to convince people to buy what they're NOT looking for is a lot harder than to get them interested in what they're ALREADY looking for.
Take this with a LARGE grain of salt since I could be 180 degrees wrong about this.
But one of the turning points in my career was when I stopped telling my clients what they SHOULD need, and learned to listen to what they actually already believed they needed.
The other advice here about developing an outreach program that explains the specific economic benefits of your work to potential clients is much more important. But whether you add zeros to your bottom line by adding 10% more large job tickets - or 50% more smaller job tickets - isn't that kinda irrelevant.
I understand that you might be feeling that adding a lot of smaller job tickets might make you more proof against losing a lynchpin client - and that's a reasonable strategy right up to the point where you can't properly service a big gun client because your team's running around trying to adequately service 40 smaller ones who want the same level of service, even tho their projects aren't generating nearly the return of the big ones.
Just food for thought - and an interesting topic in these times.
Thanks to both of you for your detailed replies.
Nick you are right that the number of sit down meetings would have to be quite large. We currently do not have a dedicated member of staff for sales and I agree that we would need one to achieve the amount of turn around that we desire. We have recently started mailing out brochures etc but not a structured campaign like you are suggesting. That could well be a very good idea.
We have seen the issue of presenting come up a couple of times and have always addressed it with our interview style that is far easier that having to present. We do mention in our FAQ that we can arrange for a voiceover but with extra charge. We try to convince people that doing it themselves is far more beneficial as potential customers want to see the person they would be dealing with, see their passion for their business etc.
Your suggestion that people simply do not need this service at the moment is something that we are currently facing up to. It's this decision that will determine the future of the Streamme service. Perhaps it might be better putting the same effort into finding more of our usual clients than chasing smaller clients who do not know they need this yet. We still very much believe in the product and what it can offer customers but perhaps not enough people are ready to make that jump.
Does anybody else have experience or knowledge in this area that could perhaps give us some more food for thought. We are approaching a junction with this soon and will need to make a well-informed decision.
Thanks again for your answers guys!