If you're looking for new ways to boost your small business marketing efforts and stretch your resources, the V12 Group, a digital marketing technology and data provider, may have just what you need.
The company's Launchpad platform brings tough-to-wrangle marketing activities into one place. The platform gives small businesses a single system capable of storing customer lists, posting on social media, managing customer relationships, launching email campaigns, creating profiles of specific customer bases, and even targeting new prospects that mirror your existing clientele.
And while the pillars of the platform have been around for a while, V12 Group recently released the Launchpad Marketing Cloud, a suite of enhancements geared specifically toward helping small businesses.
According to Paul Chachko, the V12 Group's CEO and chairman, his team frequently received ease-of-use concerns from clients, particularly small businesses that often lack in-house technology support and dedicated marketing expertise.
"We said, 'Let's have all the sophistication and the capabilities that everybody else has, but let's put it in a platform that's a lot more elegant, a lot easier to use, and that has a much friendlier approach,'" Chachko recalls. "Businesses will still be able to accomplish their goals in a much more user-friendly environment."
Figure 1: Launchpad's simplified dashboard quickly gets you where you need to go.
Launchpad's Streamlined Dashboard
The first task: streamline the user interface (UI). The redesign delivers the horsepower that small business need without cluttering the screen (and taking up time) with features typically more suited to the needs of larger enterprises.
Chachko says much of the feedback V12 Group received from customers revolved around making the platform simpler and reducing the steps necessary to get things done. "They said, 'Can you make it a lot more palatable for me to accomplish my goals without having to go through the number of steps I needed to go through prior to this?'"
Figure 2: Launchpad makes creating new email campaigns is fast and easy.
The new UI pares down the steps to just the essentials, and the dashboard provides a simplified, easy-to-read view of the tools and applications.
Small Business IT Infrastructure in the Cloud
Small businesses typically don't own a lot of IT infrastructure. All those components are costly to purchase, house, maintain, and upgrade, especially as the number of employees—and business locations—using the system grows. The Launchpad Marketing Cloud focuses on cloud technology and eliminates the financial concerns that may accompany buying new hardware.
"When thinking of the cloud as a solution, business owners need to understand that a cloud provides additional computing power that they may not have on a local basis," Chachko says. Rather than spend the money to purchase and install servers or other dedicated components, platforms running in the cloud are a good way to keep initial and ongoing costs low.
Figure 3: The email landing page lets you view past email campaigns performance at a glance.
"If businesses want to run analytics, enhance data, build an email or display-ad campaign, then access to a cloud-based solution provides that level of power and capability," says Chacko. Cloud applications offer scalability that fits a business's needs today and into the future, whether they need to expand to support new customer bases or contract during non-peak seasons—without having to pay for resources they aren't using.
Cloud infrastructure is also an efficient solution for small businesses with multiple locations, or for business operators who may need to access their marketing applications from work, home, and while on the road. "You can access our platform anywhere around the globe, anytime, day or night," Chachko says. Launchpad customers get enterprise-grade products and services in an environment they can afford and actually use.
Small Business Tech Support on Tap
Even the smallest businesses using the Launchpad Marketing Cloud have access to the company's vast data warehouse. "Some of the most respected firms in the world use our data from a demographic and enhancement perspective, a security perspective, a look-up perspective or a marketing perspective," Chachko says.
"We're the only company in this space that builds databases from the individual level up," adds Chachko. Rather than working as an adjunct to the other applications in the Launchpad offering, V12 Group's data warehouse is actually a basis of the platform. Small business operators can use their own data if they choose, but "They can also tap into the V12 data warehouse and the cloud to reach new customers," Chachko says.
Tech support, or more to the point, fearing the lack of it, may stop a small business from deploying any new system. Without a team of internal IT experts, how will you get help when you need it? V12 Group has you covered there, too.
"There are [tech support] chat features, email features, 800 numbers you can call, plus a video library and documents online," says Chachko. The team recognized early on that if they were going to serve small businesses, they would need to provide the kind of support and communication required to get them up and going.
Between the online tutorials and real-time help, you have a wealth of support ready when you need. There's even a free 30-day trial so you see the platform in action.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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