This article concerns proposing B2B customer-driven marketing strategies for a software company, Statzon, to penetrate Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) countries’ academic segments following the subscription business model. In a more in-depth perspective, the study discusses the search engine optimization tactics regarding marketing strategies.
Authors: Shima Edalatkhah and Tiina Pernanen
To examine customer-driven B2B marketing strategies for Statzon, as market data and forecast provider, the research aims to enhance the number of subscribed users by figuring out:
- Statzon service Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for NB8
- The potential competitive advantages that Statzon can provide
- NB8 penetration process
- Suitable pricing policy for NB8
- Marketing promotional strategies for Statzon
Research Methodology and Data Collection
After an Economical, Social, and Technological analysis of NB8 (table 1), a ten-question questionnaire was emailed to 273 subjects to fulfill the study goals. The survey subjects were library directors, vice directors, and the head librarians of NB8 universities as the authentic source for data collection. The collected result presents the demanded data categories in the NB8 academic segment, the KPIs of data service platform, the decision-making process, and pricing indications from NB8 academic users’ point of view. (Edalatkhah 2019)
Table 1. NB8 Economical, Social & Technological Analysis (adapted from WorldBank 2019)
According to the study results, Statzon’s biggest potential markets among NB8 countries are Sweden, Denmark, and Finland considering population, the number of academic centers, and the Research and Development (R&D) share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as shown in figure 1. (Edalatkhah 2019)
Figure 1. NB8 biggest Academic Markets
The research results indicate that the principle faculties in the target market are Business and Hospitality as well as Social Sciences and Technology. Based on survey results, the most popular data categories are Education, Finance, Health-Social work, and Manufacturing. The essential features of data service in NB8 academic users’ point of view are the variety of data categories, regular data updates, and downloadable visual data. Thus, it is recommended to Statzon to specify its core concentration on mentioned above countries, faculties, in-depth data categories, and the service feature at preliminary steps of market penetration phase. (Edalatkhah 2019)
The potential competitive advantages of Statzon
Amadeo (2019) believes, competitive advantages do not root only in more competitive price, quality, and speed of responsiveness, the role of innovative and high-tech service is very sensible in the current technology age. Statzon already benefits from competitive advantages, including modern, user-friendly, and engaging design, downloadable and printable visual data, regular updates, and market forecasts for all industries (Statzon 2019.) Study outcomes indicate that Statzon content needs to be revised by more detailed niche data classification, also the applied technology of Statzon needs to be automated (figure 2).
Figure 2. Statzon Potential Competitive Advantages for NB8 Academic Segment
Penetration Process to NB8 Academic Segment
To penetrate in NB8 academic segment, Statzon should reflect on the decision-making process. According to the study results, decision making in the NB8 academic segment, highly (70 %), depends on students’ feedback. The dominant decision-makers are library managers who decide about data service; however, in less than half (40 %) of academic centers, the university’s managing team decides about the data service. The study recommends Statzon does not confine targeting library managers to contact. The figure 3 declares how to convince the academic segment, Statzon first needs to build awareness among university teachers and research staff, before giving trial access to the university. In this way students as dominant end-users, would engage more efficiently in trying Statzon service, and then by providing feedback, they will influence the decision-making process. (Edalatkhah 2019)
Figure 3. Penetration Process to NB8 Academic Segment
Pricing Strategy for NB8 academic Segment
The study results imply that there is a correlation between GDP and R&D expenditure share of GDP of the NB8 members with academic users’ price consciousness. The study outcome shows while the average data service fee in NB8 is €5,194, fair annual subscription fee in the Nordics is considered to be €5,000-7,500, while in the Baltics users had more diversified anticipations (€2,000-10,000). (Edalatkhah 2019)
Recommended Strategies for Statzon in NB8
First, Statzon needs crystal clear goals as pillars of its marketing campaigns and content. The selected and filtered content should be adjusted based on customers’ demanded data categories. The second determining step is lead nurturing by creating a branched content funnel to drive leads toward fitting content, targeted video ads, engaging market data quiz, and communicating with leads in a friendly and innovative way. The third tactic is increasing visibility by other people’s networks (OPN), including academic experts and prominent influencers. The fourth step for Statzon to penetrate the educational segment of NB8 is setting barriers for the competitors and taking the market leader role. To do so, Statzon needs to create a big gap with competitors with its leading technology, massive academic niche data scale and ongoing innovation.
By limiting the access of trail users to all data categories, Statzon will have more professional and niche data provider image; likewise, as subscription bonus, Statzon can offer further access to more detailed data class, subcategories, or relevant data categories during the limited time with specific price bid to meet the needs of different academic users by setting Budget, Premium and Customized tiers.
Tactics to avoid penalizing by Google Panda
As Search Engine Optimization (SEO) profoundly matters for the data service provider’s credibility, it also is crucial to be aware of the content types for which Google Panda algorithm penalizes the websites. Many websites after being penalized fail to retrieve their previous ranking. Panda updates are a big surprise to SEO and webmasters. Statzon should consider Google Panda sensitive hints including thin content, duplicated pages, lots of advertisements, unintuitive or poor navigation, automatically generated content, squeeze pages, doorway pages and meta-refresh technology which are respectively explained in figure 4. (Google Support 2019)
Figure 4. Tactics to avoid Google’s Panda Penalization (adapted from Google Support 2019)
This study highly recommends Statzon to build a relationship with its subscribers by offering unique loyalty programs and having a “Honey Pot” service plan (Morris 2015), which leaves no excuse for potential users not to subscribe. The “Honey Pot “service package of Statzon should contain limited yet tailored niche data classifications, with the price range the target users consider fair. While Statzon is applying the suggested strategies toward increasing its credibility and visibility, it should be cautious about Google Panda content-sensitive guidelines.
Amadeo, K. 2019. What Is Competitive Advantage? Three Strategies That Work. Blog [Cited 25 Jun 2019]. Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-competitive-advantage-3-strategies-that-work-3305828
Edalatkhah, S. 2019. Customer-driven B2B Marketing Strategies for a Software Company. Case: Statzon. Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Thesis [Cited 30 Oct 2019]. Available at: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2019101419940
Google Support. 2015. Thin content with little or no added value. [Cited 9 Oct 2019]. Available at: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9044175?hl=en&visit_id=637054460074608101-2546530961&rd=2#thin-content
Morris, J. 2015. The Right Way to Launch a Subscription Business [Cited 19 Jun 2019]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdWT7WA4aFk&t=534s
Statzon. 2019. What Is Statzon? [Cited 20 Jun 2019]. Available at: https://statzon.com/what
Worldbank. 2019. United Nations Comtrade Database Through the WITS Platform [Cited 28 Jun 2019]. Available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/TX.VAL.TECH.CD
Shima Edalatkhah, International Business Student at Lahti UAS
Tiina Pernanen, Lecturer at Lahti UAS
Reference to this publication
Edalatkhah, S. & Pernanen, T. 2019. Customer-driven marketing penetration strategies for Nordic-Baltic eight academic segment. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: http://www.lamkpub.fi/2019/11/06/customer-driven-marketing-penetration-strategies-for-nordic-baltic-eight-academic-segment/