Sunday, 16 December 2012
Auckland Today Magazine
A recent marketing survey canvassing 50 of the biggest companies in New Zealand found two universal sources of frustration in this current economy; the first issue related to reduced marketing budgets combined with increasing expectations of teams under pressure. The second recurring issue involved keeping up with a rapidly changing web environment. Results from the interviews provided the impetus for an Auckland based web-design company to create a web management system to resolve both problems.
Labyrinth Solutions, managing director, Vaughan Reed initiated the research and was part of the team involved in providing an innovative resolution option. “We approached the marketing department of many of New Zealand’s leading companies, national and international, and asked them to nominate their biggest frustration and their biggest issue. Amazingly, they almost all highlighted the same themes.”
Labyrinth Solution’s response to the often repeated problems involved changing the way the website market could be delivered by creating a web to cloud alternative. The premium website design platform uses a subscription-based pricing model. “In reducing the upfront costs, our website directly addresses key concerns that marketers face when establishing and maintaining a successful website in today’s tough economic climate,” Reed says.
With the cost of high-end websites ranging from $20,000 upwards, the option of a monthly fee is preferable to many companies struggling with cash flow issues, as it spreads risk and minimises the need to fund major outlays for web solutions that can sometimes have short-term viability.
Reed concedes the shared risk has advantages and disadvantages for his company. “We are derisking it for our clients and wearing that risk ourselves, but the pricing structure ensures we are all motivated to achieve improved outcomes. It is in our best interest as well as theirs to get it right. We are looking to establish long term relationships. We need to deliver on outcomes have been set.”
In creating long term partnerships, the web company not only ensures they will be paid - some of the subscription plans will evolve over more than a year or two before the entire cost of the website is met - but the client is assured of a responsive, reliable and capable web management system. “We’ve always focused on the ‘long-term’ for our clients. We’ve found that clients who have regular contact with us and utilise our regular strategy sessions, achieve online success with their website,” Reed says. “We wanted to really encourage this type of client partnership and Web to Cloud achieves this with its all-inclusive pricing model.”
Labyrinth is the first company in New Zealand to be offering the subscription web to cloud service and Reed is fielding a growing number of enquiries from new companies since the concept officially launched in August this year. “We have been operating for 12 years and we can still offer a web design service that involves up front costing, but we are finding more customers are interested in the new concept.
Subscription pricing provides significant advantages for marketers. The cost of the website project moves from capital expenditure to operational expenditure – this helps to streamline budgeting. In addition, businesses can easily assess the return on their online investment against their monthly costs.”
Results from the questionnaire highlighted the sometimes prohibitive set up cost of creating a premium website and the difficulty of managing a website with limited resources. Other issues included the desire for businesses to be able to clearly see the value of their online solution and the return on this investment. The majority of survey respondents recognised the importance of having a clear online strategy and ongoing strategic support, but several expressed a lack of time or available expertise from their website providers in this area.
“The web environment is changing rapidly and many companies are struggling to keep up. They lack the skill and resources in house and budget constraints may preclude outsourcing for expertise. It surprised us how many of the same issues were nominated by the range of companies we surveyed,” Reed says.
“Marketers face getting results online in a challenging if not painful economy. Web to Cloud provides a robust, future-proof solution that will ensure businesses reach their business goals.”
Vaughan Reed is Managing Director of Auckland-based Labyrinth Solutions.