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Itomic is a subject matter expert (SME) with more than 8 years of web expertise in fields such as web design, web creation, industry consulting, social media, content marketing, and system administration. Itomic offers web design and creation, as well as web hosting. It also specializes in Drupal website creation, architecture, planning, and maintenance. In the past, they have supported government agencies and departments with online solutions and Drupal-based websites.
Statement of the Problem
The firm is having difficulty appealing to, convincing, and closing deals of SME customers. We decided to use a problem tree in order to define the challenge and understand the problem faced by Itomic in marketing their web designs to SME’s.
Some of the virtues of SME’s that have cropped up from our research indicate that they are sensitive to cash; they talk with each other; and lastly, they want to understand about their competitors. Deans et al. (2000) argue that the main impediment to adoption of ICT by SME’s is “skill access” barrier. It may be the owner or employees.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABC), small business comprises companies with less than 20 employees. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) make up a huge percentage of private sector businesses in Western Australia. The attention to capture a clientele that include SME’s continues to increase from both the public and the government. Bringing an SME client on board is not an easy task. SME’s provide a huge client potential considering their expanding contribution to the economy. SME’s may engage in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). E-commerce has introduced major avenues for businesses to sell their services and products online. Going by the current trends, B2C trade is expected to expand as consumers continue to embrace technology. The barriers to effective B2C have been quoted as being lack of ease of use of the technology, security, and privacy concerns.
Itomic is planning to capitalize on customer centric web design in order to win the appeal of SME’s decision makers. This attribute will be our differentiating factor in this competitive field. This mission will involve building websites that are tailored to meet the needs and wants of SME’s prospects and customers. For instance, we aim to develop websites that are user friendly, while at the same time capturing all the information necessary to influence buying decision. By customizing the sites, several benefits will be realized. Firstly, our websites endeavours to achieve the ease of use capability. In order to achieve this, the site will be carefully organized to allow for easy navigation. In addition, the organization will ensure that only the relevant information will be seen on the website to avoid any distraction among users. The sites will also include easy-to-find links while the different categories will be labelled appropriately. The strategy of capitalizing on the ease of use will help us to appeal to the competitors’ clients who are dissatisfied with the services they get. Secondly, our proposed sites will have the capacity to resolve customers’ problems due to the inbuilt customer query platforms. The sites will provide quick solution to queries as we shall introduce a comprehensive frequently asked questions (faq) platform within the sites. Surveys have indicated that websites that have dedicated customer email address tend to be more interactive. Our plan is to develop a user friendly customer email address that will be dedicated for customer queries. Moreover, live chats have proven to be a better way of resolving urgent issues instantly. The possibility of collecting non-costly data by interacting with customers on our websites mean that research can be carried with the data in order to inform decision-making. Our vast experience in the industry has allowed us to gain experience in the industry. We have been able to demonstrate that virtual tours go a long way into helping clients to gain understanding on products and services sold. It is also important to display the company’s information on the site. It should detail the company’s history and background information. Displaying this information increases the legitimacy of the organization to the clients.
The two main types of business model are based on either segment or business stage. The segment based business model involves picking a space and finding clients within that space. The client’s needs are addressed and templates built by adding all the customized features as independent modules. The pricing can be software as a service (SaaS) or turnkey solution. Under SaaS, software is centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis. Users access SaaS via a web browser using a thin client. SaaS has found application in many business applications as a delivery model even in top software companies. The main difference between SaaS and traditional software is in pricing. SaaS pricing is on subscription fee which can be monthly or annual while conventional software requires an upfront pay. The main advantage of SaaS as a strategy is the ability to offer competitive price on software, which is made capable by the economies of scale. Secondly, SaaS applications allow for easy updates more frequently. This is made possible by the various factors inherent within the system. As earlier noted, SaaS is hosted centrally making it easier for the provider to execute the update. There is fast development testing owing to the single configuration of this application. Moreover, the vendor has a simpler task of maintaining and updating versions since it is singular in terms of version. Lastly, the vendor can identify areas for improvement by using web analytics to observe the behavior within the application. The adoption of SaaS has got its own challenges that slow down its acceptance. Considering that data is hosted within the vendor’s servers, security concern cannot be overlooked. Secondly, hosting of SaaS applications is done in the cloud thereby reducing their suitability for applications that demand response times in the milliseconds. In addition, economies of scale may be forfeited where large enterprises require customized applications. The adoption of SaaS may require training and/or retraining as new versions are rolled out. This brings about unseen additional costs. In a rare case where a vendor may close shop, the organizations or users may unexpectedly lose access to their software. Finally, transmission of data between the user and SaaS requires connectivity that is dependent on internet speeds. The speed may be lower than the internal network’s high speed within the organization. On the other hand, turnkey solution is a system that is easily executable into the existing business processes. This means that it can be used immediately after implementation. The design of turnkey solution is to handle specific processes such as content management, billing, or website design. This allows an organization to save on work involved in developing the tool in-house.
Based on business stage, a vendor may present himself as Minimum Viable Product (MVP) specialist with a promise of supplying MVPs in bits. The concept is to present oneself as a specialist for that particular business stage. By reviewing the business cycle, a vendor can create solutions for a segment based on business stages within a market. An MVP is a product designed with just the core features enough to satisfy early customers while gaining feedback that is necessary for future product development. The use of feedback in the development of MVP allows a vendor to save on costs and reduce the risk of product fail. This type of market testing strategy has been in use as it allows an assessment of feedback before engaging further into product development. Money and time is saved when MVP is employed in marketing. This is because the vendor will not invest heavily in terms of time and monetary investments before being certain of the demand of that product.
The marketing strategy adopted will be able to portray credibility to potential clients. Clients are keen to bring on board experts when shopping around for web designing services. Our personal website will have details of certifications, work experiences, and educational details in order to give clients a reason to trust our services. We will then embark on an active social media campaign tailored on reaching our target market. This comes about because we understand the power of social media platforms and, therefore, seek to use them to appeal to potential clients.
Similarly, we will review our website to make sure that it is designed portray our prowess in the field of web design. Clients will benchmark our capability depending on how our website is designed. In a bid to use the digital press to market our services, we are planning to make use of the freelance websites. This will provide us with an easy and cheap way to find new clients. We will present our services through websites such as Upwork and Freelancer. Secondly, we will be distributing free templates for WordPress. The free templates will have links that direct potential clients to our website. In the meantime, we plan to build an awesome template for WordPress, with a minimum rate charge. We will then use themeforest.net to disseminate the template. Following the traffic of people in this site, a good number may request customized themes at a charge.
We are planning to have a blog where we will post informative content about web design and development that can be released on a weekly basis. Udemy is yet another platform that we intend to use in marketing our services. This will ensure that our brand gets the recognition as we shall develop tutorials designed to educate and inform people of the capability of our sites. Elliot et al. (2000) assert that managers of SME’s believe that e-commerce will transform the marketplace. However, there has been widespread lag in adoption of ICT by SME’s. The internet has continuously grown in determining purchasing decisions across the globe. Therefore, businesses should consider taking advantage of the internet to market their services and products.
According to Consoli (2012), the adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) by SME’s depends on several factors, one of which is demographic. The study indicated that age and educational level determined the adoption of ICT. The findings could not indicate possible link between gender and adoption of ICT. Similarly, adoption of ICT has contributed to the growth of productivity of organizations, efficiency, organization expansion, and competitiveness. From their study, Stokedale et al. contend that ICT adoption improves internal and external communication. Consoli (2012) categorizes factors that determined ICT adoption, into organizational, individual, economic, technological, and environmental factors.
The objective of the campaign is to sell our brand to SME’s as the top-notch web designers and developers. The mission is to gain appeal to decision makers of SME’s who are in the management. The campaign will entail offering customer centric websites to clients for free trial. The friendly and interactive offer will give us a chance to pitch our designs and differentiate us from the rest. We also plan to write free educational blogs on technology. The concept is to gain an audience with the decision making group of people within SME’s.
B2C marketers target people who pay for products and services for their families or themselves. However, B2B marketing involves businesses targeting to sell their products or services to other businesses. To top it up, the buying decision within a company may be determined by a group of people therefore increasing the probability of bureaucracy. Our fast task is to create a database of potential clients. This will be achieved by collecting data from the internet and yellow pages. Concisely, the kind of marketing and advertising will be determined by the characteristics of the database of potential clients that we intend to create. Surveys have indicated that the most effective promotion methods for B2B are direct mail, websites, and PR.
We aim to focus on digital platforms channels to reach our audience. Our priority is on search and email. According to Kusumaningtyas (2015), the two channels are the best in reaching SME’s. We will focus on our second strategy, which is to use trade media to reach the managers of these companies. Studies have indicated that trade magazines are the most effective channel to reach SME decision makers. Firstly, trade magazines do not retail in markets but are exclusively circulated among the elite. The information contained in these magazines is specific to this class of people and therefore they are keen on whatever is published there. Surveys indicate that up to 53% of companies use trade press to advertise their products. We also intend to take part in major exhibitions within the city. However, this kind of advertisement is subject for review owing to the currently projected costs.
We wish to have both automated and personal relationship with our target market. The essence of creating a database of our potential clients is to automate our communication and correspondences with the clients. However, after appealing audience with potential clients, we will be visiting them to pitch on our products.
The initial cost will majorly be paid by our company because we intend to offer some free services in order to portray our capability. Revenue will accrue from sale of web designs, website hosting, and consultancy fees among other services.
The main resource that underpins our business model is our expertise. The skills and experience that we have is unmatched and, therefore, we have technological edge.
The most crucial activity is to appeal an audience with the management of SME’s. We are ready to pitch and close deals because our business model aims at giving solutions for SME’s which has been missing in this industry.
A Graphical representation of Itomic Web-Design Business Model
An overview of the problem tree seeking to find out why SME’s ICT adoption rate has been low
Media channels and Technology
The advancement in technology has seen many companies adopt technology; however, many are yet to come on board. Small and medium enterprises continue to lag behind their counterparts, the large enterprises when it comes to ICT adoption. The quality of web designs among the small and medium enterprises is wanting, thereby resulting to missed business opportunities. An automated survey carried out in the UK on 3,802 small business websites found out several challenges facing the SME’s (Thelwall, 2000). For example, these websites could not be traced using the largest search engine, Yahoo. The major problem facing the penetration and adoption of ICT in SME’s can be narrowed down to skills barrier and technological issues among the designers. The website should be designed as to meet the goals of the business and make it user friendly.
We plan to use content marketing strategy to gain appeal to our target client. We will provide original and informative blogs for free. Whatever we shall post will be targeted to attract the attention of SME’s decision making team. Our goal will be solve possible challenges facing these SME’s.
Websites and in extension ICT is slowly becoming part of the normal running of a business. Majority of SME’s have realized the potential of having websites and adopting E-commerce. They have gradually increased the budgets on ICT in order to increase their competitive advantage. We have taken interest in failures and dissatisfaction on SMEs caused by low quality website. The data that we have collected will go a big way in assisting us to customize websites for our target clientele. Firstly, the dissatisfaction is emanating from having websites that do not align to the organization’s strategies; lack of user friendly websites; lack of skills needed to realize the full potential of running e-commerce; having unqualified management within the organization; and lack of proper training and preparation of end users. We have used a problem tree to identify causes and possible solution of these problems. Our marketing model has been developed in the full light of these challenges with an aim of surmounting them. The concept behind the strategy is to portray that we are fully in charge when it comes to web designing and development.
Consoli, Domenico. "Literature analysis on determinant factors and the impact of ICT in SMEs." Procedia-social and behavioral sciences, no.62, 2012, pp. 93-97.
Deans, Kenneth R., & Stewart Adam. "Internet survey data collection: The case of WebQUAL." ANZMAC Conference Proceedings, University of New South Wales, Sydney. 2000.
Elliot, Stephen R., Mørup-Petersen A. S., & Niels Bjørn-Andersen. "Towards a framework for evaluation of commercial Web sites." The 13th International Bled Electronic Commerce Conference. 2000. 2000.
Kusumaningtyas, N., & Dyna Suwarto. "ICT adoption, skill and use differences among small and medium enterprises managers based on demographic factors." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, no. 169, 2015, pp. 296-302.
Stockdale, Rosemary, Chad Lin, and Susan Stoney. "The effectiveness of SME websites in a business to business context." (2005).
Thelwall, Mike. "Effective websites for small and medium-sized enterprises." Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, no. 7.2, 2000, pp. 149-159.
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