eWOMP's CEO Bhavin Shah tells his company history like this, "We started raising funds February-March 2000. We launched in April. And in May-June the world collapsed." The Company's first plan was B2C: helping millions of consumers to share stuff online with their friends. Shah says, "But when the market shook up, that was hard to monetize." So eWOMP quickly repositioned for Plan B-to-B : selling viral marketing products to Web sites.
Next Shah's team had to come up with a new marketing campaign; and, execute it successfully on a tight budget while the rest of dot-com-land noisily fell apart over the following nine months.
First eWOMP decided to collect real-life proof that their technology worked by giving it away to a selected group of about 200 Web marketers who agreed to test it. These weren't just anybody -- the group included several name brands such as Schwinn (as in bicycles) and Bored.com (as in the destination site for millions of young adults.) eWOMP used these first clients' successes to create an in-house library of case studies, graphic examples and testimonials.
Next Shah wrote pitch letters requesting meetings with major offline and online ad agencies. However, instead of sending out a form letter barely personalized with somebody's name in the salutation (as most ad tech companies do -- you know who you are), Shah spelled out how eWOMP's tech could specifically help that agency's particular clients. He says, "I drew specific examples, and used case studies and testimonials." What he didn't use were buzzwords, "Agencies can't use buzzwords with their clients, so you have to give them information in a format they are comfortable with. It makes their job easier."
eWOMP's four-person team of internal sales reps, who called potential clients all day long, were also trained to sell using real-life examples, case studies and testimonials as opposed to buzzwords.
Shah carried this presentation style into his in-person meetings with agencies. He says, "They are visual, you have to give them visual examples of what you can do. We take a lot of material to show them how it would look and feel if they implemented this for their clients."
Although eWOMP initially hired an outside PR contractor, Shah decided to save money by bringing the function in-house and focused on getting speaking gigs rather than press. He has personally cold called events to pitch himself as a client. He says, "I've contacted people and said, 'Look I think this piece is missing from your overall speaker mix.'"
In less than a year (and a tough one at that) eWOMP won more than 100 paying clients, both on the client-side and agency- side. Shah credits happy-client testimonials for about 30% of the Company's sales. He's also very happy with the results of his speaking gigs, saying, "If I were to dedicate three hours on PR, I would rather go out talking to people at conferences and breakfasts. I've spoken at six events so far and each one has yielded significantly in terms of clients and prospects."
His letters to the agencies have also been successful, winning him personal pitch meetings with leaders at Y&R and Burson-Marsteller among others.
NOTES: Yes, Shah is definitely open to partnerships. He says, "We can provide our product to people like Responsys as an add-on tool. Email marketing companies can integrate our product and offer it as an extension of their own service with some type of revenue share agreement. We'll also talk to anyone in the business of delivering email campaigns, including agencies." However, he wants to make one thing clear, although, "Companies are eager to tie up exclusives with us" it's just not in eWOMP's best interests.
To contact eWOMP, email Marketing Manager Lisa Cadan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.279.0510 x15.
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