A comprehensive software solution for developing, managing, and deploying Pure XML web services
Interim VP, Marketing, 2001
On July 1st, 2001, MarketSavvy engaged with Infravio, a young start-up in the XML and Web Services space. Their small team of 25 was mainly technical (engineers, QA, etc.), with the exception of one business development professional, one product manager, and the CEO.
There was no marketing department, a very "stealth" Web site, and the need to clarify their positioning — and my client wanted to launch both the Company and its product in September. Also, Infravio was understandably concerned about conserving cash, as they anticipated going out for their second round funding in the Fall, 2001.
- Early priorities included quickly developing a market and competitive overview as a backdrop to the much-needed positioning work.
- Developed initial positioning, 'tested' it on the Board of Directors and a few "friendly" industry analysts. As expected, their feedback was valuable to help us further hone the positioning. We modified the initial "strawman" positioning, which centered around XML, and broadened our positioning to focus on Web Services. In the end, we did come up with an impactful positioning statement:
"Only Infravio provides a comprehensive architecture for developing, deploying and managing Pure XML Web Services, supporting all open standards, and leveraging your current investments."
Other companies in the Web Services space talk of limited offerings, very few have shipping products, none of which address the aspect of managing Web Services once they were deployed, and none are able to manage all XML resources from a central repository. Providing a comprehensive architecture to manage XML and Web Services on an enterprise level was a void in the market that only Infravio fills. This is a good solution for now, though positioning tends to evolve constantly, as the market changes and matures.
- From this, we developed one consistent set of messages, which served as the basis for other materials written by MarketSavvy, including the Elevator Pitch and the introduction to the Business Plan. In addition, we developed a comprehensive corporate and product presentation to introduce analysts and prospects to Infravio, and generate excitement about the Company.
MarketSavvy developed a comprehensive "go-to-market" strategy, in the form of a launch plan that included goals, strategy, and tactics. This served as a critical internal document to create the synergy and collaboration required for the launch, and to verify timing and deliverables.
MarketSavvy's Implementation Approach
- Outlined the Company's business plan, including a marketing plan and sales strategy;
- Created a pre-launch "stake-in-the-ground" event by securing a speaking engagement for Infravio's CEO at the industry's premier VC forum, Internet Outlook, in Sept., 2001;
- Web site: collected dozens of bids in July, and hired a top-notch firm who designed and launched the Web site in just five weeks;
- Corporate ID: worked with above firm to create a compelling and polished new logo for the company;
- Wrote and issued the Company's first press releases, starting with the appointment of the CEO, and followed by the individual announcements of the VP team, communicating that a truly world-class group of executives was joining this very promising Web Services start-up;
- Identified the need for on-going help in communications; found and interviewed several candidates, hired a top-notch Director of Corporate Communications;
- Analyst tour: Developed the strategy for an analyst tour, identified relevant industry analysts who cover Web Services and XML, and created a plan to brief them prior to our official launch into the industry;
- Developed needed marketing materials, including a Fact Sheet, Corporate Backgrounder;
- The company will make its formal debut at the XML Edge conference in Santa Clara, October 23-25, during which time the Company will release the announcement on general availability of its 1.0 product.
Results: Zero to 60 in Three Months
- Three months ago, the Company was in "stealth mode", and had no awareness in the market. Today, Infravio is seen as a "player" in the Web Services space!
- Press releases were issued consistently, weekly, starting in mid-August.
- The Web site launched on Sept.6th, as planned, and just prior to the CEO's appearance at Internet Outlook.
- The positioning now resonates with our target audiences, and has served as the basis for all the other collateral and marketing activities.
- The Company is pursuing an OEM suggestion made by MarketSavvy, to offer an XML-schema editor product alongside their own, to expand the Infravio product offering.
- Infravio was included in Red Herring's summary of the "players" in Web services, Sept. issue, "VC Whispers" column.
- MarketSavvy was able to secure key speaking engagements for Infravio:
- at an October meeting of the Silicon Valley Java Users' Group, an influential group, ripe for the Web Services message, and
- at a November Web Services panel on which Infravio and IBM are the only two vendors of Web Services offerings. (sponsored by The Stencil Group, a Web Services industry analysis firm). Great visibility, as well as good market feedback and potential customer leads.
- The Company is on the receiving end of calls from analysts who now see them as a player and source of information on the market.
- Inbound calls from top tier Venture Capitalists show their strong interest in funding this Company.
- The Company has secured ten excellent pilot projects at Fortune 500 companies, and is poised to turn them into Infravio's first customers.