|Do Nice Guys Finish Last? Confessions from the Marketing Trenches||
When my current company was getting started we had a marketing budget of $500. Total. That's $500.00 USD. No, really: $5-0-0. And no, the rest of the money was not spent on Aeron chairs, like many startups in the day.
We had to come out swinging against the 500 lb gorillas of our industry. While we held the edge in tech, call recording systems of any brand were hardly a household name. There were a few that were of note, with the biggest being Nice Systems and Dictaphone.
Nice was an older player that built their business upon several key acquisitions. This added a lot of punch to the Rolodex and established sales channels, albeit causing brand diffusion and occasional confusion. But, like Borg, they were everywhere and tech budgets were being assimilated, left and right.
One of the keys to their later success is the truth to the arguments that no one ever gets fired for specifying IBM. They’re big. They’re entrenched. They have marketing budgets (shockingly) in excess $500. A Nice solution wasn’t likely to get you fired, due to the sheer size and halo effect that comes with the beast. Of course, no one can get hired solely based on something like that either.
We stood out in our ability to offer one-on-one technical service and pre and post purchase support. Our interface was, and indeed still is, simply powerful enough to allow users to record and monitor calls, run meaningful reports and track users and groups, while gathering customer-interaction intelligence within a single user friendly application. Single and multi-site call centers rapidly adopted Voxida, our call recording platform, and there still wasn't a grey suit- or a canned solution- offered by any of our team members. We operated with a mantra of keeping call recording cool. Because, really, it should be.
So, we "got" the web and search engine optimization (SEO) right away. When most companies were working on brochure-ware sites, and the more saavy of those bought Google AdWords, we focused on organic search when it will still the ugly step child. Admittedly, we got around the budgeting hurdle by allowing most leads to come to us via word-of-mouth, industry news and organic searches for specific technology, like a call recording system that works specifically with an Avaya S8700 PBX with digital and VoIP phones. As engineered, Voxida could speak multiple vendors proprietary PBX languages when much of the industry was still relying on simple call events and noise-driven recording modalities. And Voxida could do it out-of-the-box.
So, when it comes down to the question "do Nice guys finish last?" we're still offering a shrug. The only certain thing is that it's way too good to be one of the naughty.