Startup marketing is about purchase intent

I’ve been thinking about channels a lot recently – where potential buyers/users come from, what were they doing when the ‘showed up’ and how did they even start thinking about making a purchase? When it comes to practical execution I find that understanding about purchase intent is a great way to cut the chase and efficiently decide on marketing actions that will result in either sales or learnings with data on what didn’t work.

By purchase intent, I mean the moment when a potential customer expresses interest in paying for a solution to a problem.

For a startup, there are at least two critical moments when you want to ‘exploit’ a potential customer’s purchase intent: a) when the person is forming purchase intent and b) when a person is expressing purchase intent. (I don’t like the word exploit, but it gets the point across.)

The funny thing is that now that I’ve run marketing at two different startups, I’ve found that the exact same channel could be in the formation phase for one company and at the expression phase for another.

For example, at my last company national press would drive a large number of new users into our purchasing funnel. Small business owners would read about us on a respected news site and decide to give the service a try, with many of them putting down their credit cards to begin using the service. Choosing to read an article about, say scanning receipts, shows that a person is already interested in the solution; nobody reads articles on b2b solutions for fun! Formation is triggered when the title the of the article is read “hey I have this problem,” and leads to purchase expression when the reader clicks to OfficeDrop’s website “this sounds like a great solution!”

At Boundless, national press does drive a lot of visits, but doesn’t covert in the same way. This is because students don’t make textbook buying decisions based off of news articles; students express intent during specific times of the school year. While they may be intrigued by an article on a way to save money with Boundless textbook alternatives, reading the article only helps them form purchase intent. It doesn’t directly lead to the expression of purchase. Instead, they (hopefully) remember to check out Boundless at the start of the next semester when they are looking for books. So news articles help the potential user form the desire to try out our solution when the time is right, but won’t directly lead to purchasing.

Supporting both sides of purchase intent is important. The Boundless press helps with branding (hard to measure) but also drives increased on page and in funnel conversion (by providing third party proof of quality.) So we can quantify the benefit beyond the hard to measure branding and awareness. However, my main point is that the exact same channel influenced different parts of purchase intent for two different startups. And if you don’t measure your channels you’ll never know if you are positively impacting anything, so careful tracking is critical to success.

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Some fun with video marketing

We had a fun recently with a video marketing effort, putting on a “webinar” on document backup that was taken over by Mayan doomsdayers. It’s pretty funny, you can read it below and see me attempting to be a comedic actor.

Webinar Taken Over By Mayan Apocalypse Believers

To Save Important Files from Doomsday, Act Now and Let the Cloud Protect Your Files

Cambridge, MA. — November 26, 2012 — A recent webinar by cloud storage provider, OfficeDrop, was quickly and unexpectedly taken over by those who believe doomsday is imminent on December 21, 2012. Webinar participants held a common theory that, as the Mayan calendar ends next month, so will the world as we know it. Those who voiced questions had similar a similar concern: “Is the cloud a good strategy to save my documents after the Apocalypse?”

Calmly understanding the concern, OfficeDrop vice president, Healy Jones fielded questions on how to best approach a Mayan doomsday, from a document-management viewpoint. “The big thing is [that] you want to get your files and docs into the cloud now, before the Apocalypse – which is why we have OfficeDrop sync,” explained Jones in the webinar.

Jones, who was later contacted for questioning insisted the public know that OfficeDrop sync is available for both Mac and Windows, what he described as a “common courtesy.” It appears Jones is no stranger to the Mayan Apocalypse belief, airing another opinion: “The only reason this should be newsworthy is that people actually attended a webinar, nobody attends webinars! The chances of the Mayan Apocalypse actually happening are greater than someone attending a webinar.”

Know as meticulous and precise keepers of time, the Mayan civilization has pinpointed December 21, 2012 as the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, a time that marks both an apocalyptic change and rebirth of Earth. Flimsy paper documents aren’t expected to survive, those which do will certainly become unorganized and unusable.

Jones points out that through optical character recognition (OCR), files uploaded into OfficeDrop’s cloud before December 21 will be searchable by word, phrase or number in the OfficeDrop search box. This allows users to focus on more pressing matters, like securing family, food and firearms, rather than remembering document names.

It’s clear that Jones has a professional strategy to access his important personal and business documents after the Mayan Apocalypse. As an expert on both the cloud and world-changing doomsday events, one has to wonder – What does Healy Jones know that he’s not telling us?

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Some recent OfficeDrop Android app press

OfficeDrop recently got some great press on the most recent update of our Android app. It’s really awesome how device specific blogs can drive lots and lots of new downloads and users. I guess the major takeaway for app developers is that serious updates to apps offer tremendous PR potential. And that PR isn’t dead – if you’re selling apps then you need to use the media to drive new people to your store listings. Anyways, this piece of press was really awesome for spiking new users of OfficeDrop’s Android smartphone scanner app, so I thought I would share it.

Android Central Reviews OfficeDrop’s Updated Android App

 

Android Central, an authority in the Android app space, just reviewed the most recent update of the OfficeDrop Android app – and we are really happy that they liked it!

You can read the Android Central review of the OfficeDrop Android app here.

From the review: “The premise is simple but has plenty of potential. Whenever you have a document or something important that you’d like to keep electronic record of, you can open the OfficeDrop app and scan in the document, which is then uploaded to your account. With the latest version, document scanning has improved, with proper trimming and improved image quality.”

If you don’t have the updated app yet, you should get it! This app includes major image enhancement improvements + auto-cropping of mobile scans. we’ve just released a major improvement to our Android scanner app. This update actually improves the quality of the photo you take for you scans! So your mobile smartphone scanning just got better, easier and faster, and is part of our commitment to giving you the ability to get the best cloud scanning software possible. And it’s all designed to make using our file search better than ever – from the web or from your mobile device.

Get the OfficeDrop Android App in Google’s Play marketplace by clicking the button below on your Android device.

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Latest OfficeDrop integration is a cool one

I’m really excited about the latest OfficeDrop integration. ExpenseMagic, an automatic expense report generation service, has just integrated with OfficeDrop. This integration is going to be particularly useful for me, since I hate creating expense reports. Now I’ll just be able to drag my receipt scans into a magic folder and ExpenseMagic will give me a completed expense report!

The key take away here, from my perspective, is that having an open API (like the OfficeDrop API) allows third parties to make your platform better, while extending their own reach. Plus, cool integrations like this one create tremendous PR opportunities.

ExpenseMagic OfficeDrop Integration Video

Yeah, it was cool enough for me to want to make a video:

Here’s the press release. Looks like we are going to get some great press on this, so hopefully I”ll brag next week about it!! :)

 

OfficeDrop and ExpenseMagic Team Up to Make Expense Reports Bliss

Scan Receipts to the Cloud and Automatically Generate Expense Reports

August 17, 2012 — Cambridge, MA –Let’s face it. Expense reports aren’t fun for anyone.

There’s got to be a better way! Enter ExpenseMagic. OfficeDrop’s searchable online cloud storage and ExpenseMagic’s ultra simple, automated expense reporting service make a perfect pair. Here’s why:

Many of OfficeDrop’s small business cloud users take pictures of their receipts on-the-go using our iPhone, iPad, Android or desktop scanner apps and save them as searchable PDFs within their OfficeDrop online cloud storage accounts.

Now mobile users can simply snap photos of receipts using any of the OfficeDrop smartphone scanner apps and add them to their ExpenseMagic Upload folder. ExpenseMagic’s team gets to work and generates an expense report that you can view and share from your mobile device or computer.

From the PC it’s even easier: OfficeDrop users can simply drag receipt scans into the ExpenseMagic Upload folder in their OfficeDrop Windows File Sync Client and ExpenseMagic will put an expense report right onto their PC. Check out this video to see a demo.

“OfficeDrop wanted to take the pain out of small business expense reports, and ExpenseMagic was the perfect integration to help us do just that,” said OfficeDrop CEO Prasad Thammineni. “We are really happy that the wizards over at ExpenseMagic were able to use OfficeDrop’s API to create such a value-added feature. Integrations like this make OfficeDrop more than just cloud storage.”

OfficeDrop users can take advantage of ExpenseMagic’s automated expense reporting for the first month for free. More information on pricing plans for ExpenseMagic is outlined here. Learn more about the ExpenseMagic OfficeDrop integrations here and here, and get the ExpenseMagic iPhone app here.

OfficeDrop is a complete cloud solution for small businesses, from digitizing documents for the cloud to storage accounts that are sharable with teams. To learn how OfficeDrop makes digital life simple with its scan-and-capture apps and services, visit www.officedrop.com.

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Lots of good press on OfficeDrop’s updated Android app

Ok, well here is my chance to brag a little bit. OfficeDrop recently released our updated Android scanner app, and included 7 inch tablet support. Well, we got some great press with this OfficeDrop Android Update. So I’m going to show off some of it here! As a reminder, I firmly believe that a solid PR strategy is imperatitive to any app marketing efforts. Users will need to remember your app’s name, head to the app store and actually type and then download the app. Even better, if you can get a reporter to link directly to the app in the store then the reader could go directly to the listing and get the app right away. Press does work for app marketing; our Android downloads are way, way up.

Anyways, here is the press that our Android app has gotten recently:

OfficeDrop Android App Press Reviews

August 13th, 2012

OfficeDrop – a Top 25 Business App for Android - Network World


July 30th, 2012

OfficeDrop, Escanea y guarda tus documentos en la nube - Lo Nuevo de Hoy


July 24th, 2012

OfficeDrop Review - Android Rundown


July 16th, 2012

OfficeDrop: Turn Your Android Into a Scanner - App for Android


July 16th, 2012

OfficeDrop Android Review - Android Authority


July 11th, 2012

How Mobile Apps are Changing Software - PC World


July 10th, 2012

Scan Your Receipts for Safe Keeping - Lifehacker


July 6th, 2012

OfficeDrop Releases its First Android Tablet App - BSDB Blog


July 6th, 2012

OfficeDrop Android, iOS Cloud Apps Help SMBs Improve Workflow - Mobile Enterprises


July 5th, 2012

Scan Documents From Mobile Devices Faster, Easier with OfficeDrop - CMSWire

 

If you actually want to get the OfficeDrop Android app, you can get it for free by clicking on the following button from your device:

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Healy Jones at BusinessInsider

Action shot of me rocking it out at the BusinessInsider Startup2012 event in NYC in early May. The topic was David vs. Goliath, and how startups can use the lean philosophy to compete with the big competitors in an industry. You can see the original photo of me, Healy Jones, here.

healy jones

Healy Jones at BusinessInsider Startup2012

Still no video, but if it goes up I’ll link to it.

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