Lessons learned from pivoting a business.
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Speaker 1: 00:04 You're listening to the podcast, we're committed to educating B2b
Speaker 2: 00:23 We're delighted to have John Baron with us today. John is sales and marketing director with phonetics. John on me go way back. We were colleagues
Speaker 2: 01:45 Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's hard to believe it's, uh, it's quite a milestone forest. But uh, I found it. My colleague John Hamilton and our main product offering is a solution we call the mobile video platform, which I'll have to say we're really proud of at the moment we're getting a lot of tension and I suppose a lot of traction in the market with it, which is the MVP mobile video platform is designed and I suppose I'm getting into it enough if that's okay. I don't mean to, I don't want to bore people, but I'll explain exactly what it does and the benefits of it, but it addresses what we see being two key pain points in the market today and one is a thing called browsing fatigue, which I think most people have experienced and it's wearing, I'm sure like me, you've rented a movie on itunes or google play only to discover later that the same movie was available for free on Netflix or Amazon or on the Rte player, on the BBCI player, whatever.
Speaker 2: 02:42 So it's frustrating. It happens all the time and many times you don't even realize that you've done it. And okay, our solution is designed to address that and make sure it never happens again. And the way we do that is that we're plugged into the leading online video and TV providers. So whether it's Netflix,
Speaker 2: 03:44 We also provide a price comparison and say for instance, if you decide, oh there's, you know, top gun for instance, and you want to watch that, you click on, it's available on Netflix. If you click on Netflix, we bring you directly then to
Speaker 2: 04:34 And today when we're talking to our operator customers, they're telling us that the majority of data now on their networks, consistent video and a lot of it has got nothing to do with them. So it's what they refer to us over the top video. And the issue for the operators is that their, their
Speaker 2: 05:25 So for instance,
Speaker 2: 06:22 And I should say that there's also revenue available from the likes of Amazon, Google
Speaker 2: 07:16 But six years ago, and what we've seen in the course of those six years in is that people's titles have changed, you know? So we would often know
Speaker 2: 08:17 So we're a
Speaker 2: 09:12 But to answer your question, platform and Apps, this is what we saw. Okay. Yeah. So so, so, so you're, you're
Speaker 2: 10:10 So it's all content that's been approved for the Irish market. Again, for instance, that say, good example, I go in and I searched for the
Speaker 2: 10:52 It's ranked. And I rented for four 99. That's that idea. Then, you know, my wife comes in, what are we watching Godfather? And she said that was on our tea during the week, you know, and it's on the Rte player all along, you know, we're doing is we're just taking all that information and putting it into our app. So new search, the Godfather, you can see, and we do it as such, where it's free to view and show Rte player. You Click on the Rte player logo, we bring it right to the APP. If you have the APP on
Speaker 2: 11:38 And then if it's on Netflix, it's the same experience. You Click on it and we bring it directly into Netflix and then it's played content is played as Netflix intended. If it's on somewhere like
Speaker 2: 12:28 Do you want to just give us a background of why a pivot? Yeah. Well yeah, like all great pivot scene. It was, it was a response to market demand, you know, it was, it was a simple as that. And as I, as I mentioned when we started out 10 years ago or we were doing something completely different than our primary offering, was that a voiceover
Speaker 2: 13:22 And one of their technical guys
Speaker 2: 14:19 And that's what we did. And then subsequent to that, then we realized there was a, an opportunity to deliver
Speaker 2: 15:10 You know, I even read this week that BBC, ITV
Speaker 2: 16:17 You know, like it's still standing and we're not seeing. We're not seeing any of this, you know, all of the revenue is going to. And Netflix, all the revenues go into
Speaker 2: 17:02 So they were the first two things that we taught. So then with our experience
Speaker 2: 17:47 And I was very honest with them. I said, look, we're, we're building this platform. We're planning to invest significant amounts of money on a significant amount of time in us. We, we, we really want to minimize the risk and make sure what we're doing, you know, how's legs and you know, could really do with your health and validating what we're doing. And what I found was, yeah, once I used the, I think it's just the human thing, you know, once I asked people for help and I, I stress to them it wasn't a sales call and it wasn't a sales call, you know, and that we just wanted a half an hour of someone's time taken true what we're planning to do and did it make sense and would it be something that they invest in, you know, that was a big thing, you know, in terms of the pain points that we identified, where are they enough to say, yeah, we'd invest in that.
Speaker 2: 18:35 And you know, the feedback was so positive. We said, right, we're gonna, we're gonna move forward. And we did, um, you know, we, we invested, took us about a year with a team of developers and dark and Belfast, a, our own developers. We have two offices, one in Belfast, one
Speaker 2: 19:36 Do you want to talk to the various things that you did too? Yeah, I think, I think one of the key learnings for me in this in was about value proposition that was kind of, you know, and I think I remember when I worked in new base software founder there, the CEO of the company was a guy called Patty who, lance really smart guy, very capable, uh, just a really, really all around good guy. But he's the hostels and Patty Patty went on to sell new bay to blackberry rim for 100 million dollars, which was an incredible achievement, you know. And um, so yeah, no an impressive guy, but my, my first week a new bay, I was drawing them and I use the term in a museum with patty value proposition and creating, creating value. And I remember Patty, he was really critical at the term, you know, and he said that's just some marketing bs, you know.
Speaker 2: 20:36 And I remember him saying it's like it's just too vague. It's like a nebulous term, you know, it's got no meat on it and I think it's only since I was going to involve them fanatics that appreciate it. Really appreciate it. When Patty was coming from and I, you know, I realize now that for your value proposition to be truly effective and mean something to your customer's needs to be more than just sort of like a catchy statement. I think the key to it is it needs to be measurable and this was a key learning for us and being able to measure and improve the value that your product or your company creates a believer. This is the cornerstone of, of, of any business strategy, regardless of whether you want to like attract new customers are you want to hang onto existing customers. And what really brought this home to me is that when we first went out pitching the mobile video platform, we're really excited about it, you know, and uh, you know, hopefully, hopefully we've got a lot of acceptance of the solution, you know, and you know, operators agreed that address the pain points that monetizing their over the top traffic and helping users find the content they want to do one to watch.
Speaker 2: 21:42 But the challenge for us initially was to justify the price that we're charging for the platform. And you know, we do the, you know, we'd point out a really cool kind of engaging features of the, uh, of the, of the APP and show, look at this, isn't this cool and you know, the user interface and isn't this amazing. And you know, we offer 24 by seven support and you know, it's
Speaker 2: 22:34 I would really, I would really recommend it, but our first lecture was given by a guy called Polo d, You know,
Speaker 2: 23:26 We'd explain to them, look, this is how much the average user spends on videos and in Ireland, you know, in a given year, this is your customer base, the
Speaker 2: 24:17 It's easy for us then to justify a price of $20,000 a month. You know, it's, it's such, it just changes everything and it just moves. Everything else is just kind of an afterthought in terms of isn't the feature is great or this is the most important thing. And I know it sounds like it's a funny thing, you go to college, you do be calm, you do
Speaker 2: 25:08 Okay. Yeah. I don't know, did I answer your question there? I know you asked about what was involved as well in terms of the pivot. Yeah, like from, you know, a lot of it was things that expecting like our positioning and messaging, you know, that was contained on our website and our marketing and sales collateral was changed to reflect the fact that we were now working. We'd moved from being a voice over Ip company to a video on demand TV company kind of doing search and discovery, you know, so our sales materials, you know, as sales decks or explainer videos, case studies, everything went into that. We did a lot of work on competitive intelligence tool. We're able to provide our team with a deep understanding of the marketplace and our strengths versus you know, the other types of solutions out there. And then lastly we did a lot of.
Speaker 2: 25:57 We did a good bit of content marketing at the time. Now in hindsight, in it would have been good to have someone like squared off working with us at that time because I think like everyone, you know, when you do it initially, you're kind of distracted by what would you say the vanity metrics you know, of in terms of how many people viewed days and how many people like this, you know? Um, and like if I'm, to be honest, I, I still think we haven't mastered the potential of content marketing and us. I think it, it creates awareness of what we were doing but can, I don't think we ever generated one lead from a genome. Right? Okay. Yeah. What was it and where did this impact the business most? This, this pivot, this change this, and it sounds to me like what of all the things that you did, this value calculator seems to, you know, it was coming across as the most, the most impactful thing I've, what stage in the, in the, in the sale.
Speaker 2: 26:52 Is that, is that having the biggest impact? That's a very good question. So we've, at this stage we've got, we've got a lot of collateral. So we've got case studies, we've got explainer videos, but I still think even initially when we're. So for instance, I, I did a very nice on
Speaker 2: 27:48 And I just put that in year one, year two, year three, and I touched attached the value calculator, you know, and just explain the assumptions that we're in it now. This was just the four or five line email in and you know, this morning I got an email back going, yeah, look, sounds interesting. You know, I didn't give me any more information than that, so I use it right at the rise of the Gecko, you know? Yeah, right at the start just to say, look there, there's, there's money to be made here. And I, I do think that's what turns heads, you know, I think if I email them, but just the explainer video and said, look, we've got this crazy cool app on it. Does great things
Speaker 2: 28:32 Yes. Yeah, yeah. No, it's very interesting. All right. Yeah. And especially the, it's what these guys are getting
Speaker 2: 29:27 But we actually have a product which I, which I think is good. We also, even though we sell to Telcos, we sort of were more of a TV and video on the man company. And so again, I think that area in, as I said, you know, there's not a week goes by where someone doesn't make an announcement that
Speaker 2: 30:39 Very good. So just to, I suppose, get them to the end of the show now. If you could just
Speaker 2: 31:43 The other thing I'd mentioned, it's probably more of a personal thing, but what I, what I've learned over the last number of years is that I think Irish people just, we just have this innate humility about us and I don't know, sometimes it's a good or a bad thing in that in the, in the, in the international business world. But what I've learned is that when it comes to competing with international companies, we really have nothing to fear. We're, we're as good as anyone out there. You know, uh, I think Irish people by and large are hardworking, passionate, or articulates, will warm, you know, we're buying large, honest and good for dealers and we have a good sense of humor, you know, so when, uh, when it comes up, you know, especially in the tech area where you might be going up against, you know, companies from the states or from Israel or wherever they're coming from, you know, with, with those kinds of traits.
Speaker 2: 32:32 I think they have a lot more to fear
Speaker 2: 33:35 And again working with Enterprise Ireland, they've very kindly pointed in the direction of a PR company in New York. So we're working with this PR company. We're going to publicize this to say, look, you know, nine out of 10 Americans want to have a single app for all their TV, TV and video watching and cellular one actually has an app that, those, that isn't that amazing and point people towards that, but hopefully create
Speaker 2: 34:18 So it's the first time that we've, we've, we've worked in Asia, so the operators, huge 116 million subscribers. That's. Yeah. So that's taken up a lot of our time. It's very exciting. And the other thing actually what came across come across her desk in the last two months as well, is an opportunity to do a joint venture with a company in the services African, the Middle East, and another one that services the US and Europe. So again, that's something that we're, we're, we're, we're exploring at the bowman. So yeah, there's a lot, a lot going on which is, which is, which is good. Great. Listen
In this episode we talk to John Barron, Sales & Marketing Director of mobile video platform company Vennetics. John tells us how Vennetics pivoted early in its journey, the steps they took and the results this change in the business had.