No matter how good your marketing plan might be, its effectiveness ultimately is a function of your ability to execute on it. For Kotis Design, a leading design firm for promotional products and branded apparel, that means having a fast and highly reliable technology infrastructure in place to support all its core activities as well as its marketing efforts.
Value as a referral builder
The cornerstone of Kotis Design’s marketing plan is word-of-mouth promotion, a strategy that numerous studies have shown to be highly effective. According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust “earned media,” (i.e., word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. What’s more, that trend has increased 18 percent during the past five years. To make sure the firm continues to benefit from positive word-of-mouth, Kotis Design focuses on delivering superior customer service.
“Customer service is critically important to us,” says Daniel Becker, vice president of technology at Kotis Design. “In fact, word-of-mouth is probably our number one source of new leads. We depend on showing our existing customers that we provide a value that they cannot simply replace by picking a random vendor online, and that often leads them to tell other customers about their positive experience.”
A varied, yet targeted, strategy
The design firm, which has aspirations to become the industry leader on a national level, also includes some SEO optimization, targeted email advertising, newsletters, and social media in its marketing plan. But it makes customer usability the primary focus of its website design rather than seeking to artificially increase its search engine rank.
“Since we aren’t selling to individual consumers, we need to target our marketing toward the decision makers at organizations that buy from us,” Becker says. “Facebook is a useful tool for advertising to college students, and we go to tradeshows we know buyers are attending.”
Technology as a pivot point
Becker stresses that all Kotis Design’s marketing efforts, like the rest of its operations, are highly dependent on technology, and it relies on Comcast Business Class solutions for that. Day-to-day operations are powered by Comcast Business Class Trunks-PRI Service and Comcast Business Class Internet Service. Comcast Business Class Trunks-PRI Service connects to Kotis Design’s existing PBX equipment, requiring no equipment upgrades or additional outlay of capital, and the firm can buy the specific amount of voice channel capability it needs now, with room to grow in the future.
With Comcast Business Class Internet, “We pay less than we paid with our previous provider, but our Internet access is so much faster than before,” Becker says. “We’re a web-based company, so speed is everything to us. We went from 1.5 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and yet we’re saving money every month.” Having to deal with just a single vendor and a single, predictable bill each month are other advantages.
“We deal with customers primarily over the phone and online, so having technology to support that is vital,” Becker says. “Whether it’s a fast Internet connection or minimizing downtime, whatever we can do to make our employees more efficient will improve our customers’ experience and, by extension, the company’s bottom line.”