Cloud // Software as a Service
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Marketing Technology Helps Vico Survive The Great Recession

By combining free and inexpensive marketing methods with an investment in new sales and marketing software, Vico Software was able to increase its sales pipeline despite significant budget cuts.

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After Sept. 20, Vico tripled the number of available seminars, which it produces on GoToWebinar. The company overhauled its Web site, improving navigation and adding links to lure visitors to stay longer. The team used an inbound marketing service called HubSpot that allows almost instant Web page edits through a simple online interface. To decide where to make changes, Vico's marketing team analyzed site traffic to determine the most popular pages and added navigation buttons to point visitors to Webinars, free trials, and demo videos. "We set a goal to get 6% to 8% of our visitors to fill out a form to give us their info freely," Allison says, "By simply adding those navigation buttons to our Web site, we took our conversion rate from 4% to 8%."

Vico's performance dashboards -- built in-house using Excel -- aggregate data from across the company. This allows marketers to know that a "general responder" who downloads collateral costs $8 to acquire; an active Webinar participant, $35; a prospect who requests a meeting, $390; and a closed deal, $1,230. Using the dashboards, Allison and her marketing team can forecast results and adjust their efforts accordingly.

Increasing activity, relying on inexpensive technology, and integrating marketing, sales, finance, and administration all led to measurable growth in sales and profits despite the economic turmoil. Web site visitors grew 62%, Allison reports, because of increased blogging and more inbound marketing -- SEO-based press releases and e-mail newsletters. But Vico's not stopping there; the company recently launched a playlist of construction-themed songs on iTunes, posted Webinars to YouTube, and started an online comic.

The efforts are bearing fruit. Since September, Vico's contact database grew from 1,500 to 6,000 people, 25% of whom participated in a Webinar. About 1,000 people downloaded a free software trial, and the sales team hit 104% of its revenue goal with a 45% profit margin last quarter.

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Elaine Appleton Grant is a reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio and a longtime business journalist.

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