Friday, February 09, 2007

Starting the Year with a Bang

Conventional wisdom says that as far as marketing activities go, the first quarter is a big ho-hum. January is typically eerily quiet, as the marketing department struggles to recover from last year’s holiday parties and finalize the new year’s budget and work plans. This is also how January looked in past years at Cimatron Technologies, Inc. (CTI).

Does it have to be this way? CTI’s Director of Marketing Lisa Sterling was determined to prove the contrary.

It all started back in 2006, when Lisa and Sam Golan, CTI’s President and CEO, set to outline the 2007 marketing plan. Over the past couple of years, CTI has developed a respectable portfolio of marketing activities that generated satisfactory results. Even the salespeople were hardly complaining about the lack or quality of leads (can you believe?!). But rather than just duplicating last year’s plan with some minor modification, Sam has challenged Lisa to raise the bar for 2007.

The ingredients of the plan Lisa and Sam came up with remained similar to what has proven to be a winning formula: direct marketing activities focused on the company’s target customers, and emphasis on activities that deliver educational value to the audience. The difference was the frequency and reach in which they would execute the program: they decided to take the activities that have been successful so far and turn them from one-off campaigns into a systematic year-long program that would significantly increase the frequency and reach to new prospects as well as the existing customer base.

Here is what Lisa and CTI were able to accomplish during the first month of 2007:

  • CTI has been publishing a newsletter focused on topics specific to the tooling industry, aptly titled Tooling Times. The newsletter has been published on schedule each and every month for over three years, and this January was no different when issue number 39 hit the inboxes of over 4,500 subscribers (up from less than 1,000 three years ago).
  • A little over a year ago, CTI has started publishing a second newsletter called Tooling Tips, with technical information directed at product users. The newsletter has been a great success, with open rates topping the 40% mark. For 2007, Lisa has decided to further leverage this success and launch a monthly Tooling Tips webinar. Needless to say, the first webinar was conducted in January…
  • CTI has been conducting solution-focused webinars for a number of years, but these have been sporadic in nature as Lisa often struggled to line-up the resources required to support these events. While drawing the 2007 plan, Sam has committed the application engineering resources required to support two solution webinars each month. The first two were successfully conducted in January.
  • To top it all of, CTI ended the quarter with a webinar hosted by one of the industry premier publications. The webinar featured a CTI customer that described the adoption of Lean Manufacturing practices and how Cimatron’s products support the Lean processes. The webinar attracted over 600 registrations, with over 300 attending the live event.

That’s the way to start a new year!

If reading this story makes you envy of CTI’s vast marketing resource, I should probably mention that Lisa serves as a one-person marketing department. And if you thought that Lisa was busy this past month, I should complete the picture by adding that all these activities took place in parallel to the many other “routine” tasks that occupy Lisa on a day-to-day basis, including two new press releases, tradeshow preparations, ongoing sales support, and none less than the implementation of a new CRM… and just in case you were wondering, the February checklist looks no less impressive!

How has your 2007 started? If you have a story to share, I’d love to get your comment!

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