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Marketing challenges

Zoli Erdos left a comment in my previous post about 24SevenSync:

Hi Sleepy, I am amazed ... why is this company limited to Sweden/Norway/UK only? I spent most of my life in the ERP business (SAP) and recently having worked with startups and smaller businesses became obsessed with trying to find the right hosted business apps for SMB's. "created" this market, but the real good one IMHO is NetSuite - CRM/ERP combo. But even that's not enough, for a small business I would still need communication, office, collaboration tools (hosted office? wiki ..etc), and you guys seem to have it all. The US is such a huge market, I am surprised that you are virtually unknown here. Why? Thanks, Zoli

Like you say, we do have it all..or most required applications. CRM, accounting, invoice etc. and also communication. We don’t have wiki or other similar collaboration tools though. Might be interesting to include it. I am observing the whole RSS/Blog/Wiki scene with much interest so it’s on my mind in regards to any new modules we are planning. I agree that the CRM/ERP combo like NetSuite is much better for smaller businesses. Though it should be noted that SalesForce is a good product as well. With the full combo you get integration, integration, integration. And it’s web-based. Thus, no need for a big internal IT department - if any at all.

Zoli points out something that has been on my mind lately. How can we spread the word about our product and the benefits it offers to the users. Compared to some of our competitors we are relatively small. We can’t run big advertising campaigns or easily gain media’s attention. This blog is a personal blog but I’m planning to introduce a corporate blog soon. Openness, awareness, relationship building. Blogs have many advantages for up & coming companies. Another key issue is creativity. And let’s not forget - small is the new big.

When it comes to the US market we have made no actions to enter that market at all. I really think it’s necessary for us as the US is not only a big market but an innovative market (web-based application still isn’t mainstream) and also the media has much more impact on awareness. We really need to do something about the US market soon. If for example PC World or ZDNet would do a test on 24SevenOffice compared to NetSuite, SalesForce and similar products I really think it would be an eye-opener for many people. Not saying that we would win such a test. NetSuite for example is a very good product. They have some functions that we don’t have, and vice-versa. Our key strength is use of innovative technologies so it doesn’t really feel like you are using a web-site. SalesForce and NetSuite very much seem like a normal web-site. Refresh this, wait for that. It’s definitively not sexy or innovative. Check out this demo of 24SevenOffice and try the CRM or Invoice system and you will see what i mean. Heavy use of new web technologies such as Ajax results in much nicer user experience in my opinion.

Thanks for your comments Zoli. Specially considering your experience with ERP.

Written on 21 June 2005.
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