Is your company thinking of targeting San Francisco/Silicon Valley in the next two years? You should consider participating in the Access Silicon Valley Programme Boot Camp in Dublin, September 23-25th. Enterprise Ireland will be accepting applications until August 9th. Learn more and apply at www.enterprise-ireland.com/accesssiliconvalley

 Access Silicon Valley Programme
Enterprise Ireland has designed a 3 phase programme which will challenge and support participating companies to validate their business model and test its viability for the Silicon Valley market:

 Phase One: You will be asked to complete an online assessment followed by a video call with the programme provider US Market Access Center (USMAC)  to evaluate your product or service offering and product market fit.

 Phase Two: A three day intensive and interactive boot camp to be held in Dublin on 23-25 September, 2013 and delivered by USMAC. The boot camp will focus on helping participants to understand the unique corporate culture of Silicon Valley, business model validation, pitch perfection and generating meetings with potential prospective customers, partners and/or investors. Participants are given the opportunity to test and perfect their pitching skills and will be assessed on delivering their pitch.

 Phase Three: Companies will be assessed on their readiness to progress to Phase 3 which involves:
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Post boot camp mentoring
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Developing a Mission Statement for US Itinerary
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10 day US Itinerary

 10 day US Itinerary: (November 2013), USMAC mentors will schedule a number of meetings with relevant industry contacts, insiders and experts who will provide you with valuable feedback on the suitability of your product or service to the Valley marketplace.  You will also have the opportunity to pitch at a networking event and obtain feedback on the pitch and on meetings attended. Incubation space will be provided for the duration of your visit.

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Extensive keyword research has helped asset protection firm Netwatch  successfully expand its brand into new markets.  

Taking a focused approach to its online marketing efforts, including detailed analysis of end-user search trends, has reaped rewards for rapidly growing Carlow company Netwatch, allowing it to enhance its brand recognition globally.

Online a key ingredient in the marketing mix
Over the past year, with Netwatch expanding rapidly outside of its home market, online has become an increasingly important part of its marketing mix. A website re-design prompted the firm to think about how it portrayed itself online. Though the company was well known in Ireland, it needed to educate the UK and US markets and ensure its message was clear. “We knew we wanted to project our ethos as a customer-focused, high-level service for our new markets; it was important to us that our online presence reflected our growing company,” explains Therese Cullen, Communications Manager at Netwatch.

   Netwatch Systems Logo

Keyword research drives success Google AdWords campaign
Key for Netwatch is educating the marketplace on visual asset management and ensuring that people could find the company website. Conscious that its technology and service was relatively new on the market, Netwatch had to think carefully about how people would find its site online. “People weren’t typing in keywords specific to our service; in fact, the volume of searches for keywords in our area was low. So we had to be clever about our keywords,” says Therese. “We did extensive research into what areas we should be targeting and what people were actually searching for.”

Based on its research, Netwatch’s Google AdWords campaign focused on keywords related to what people would type in if they were looking for a new security service. “We were essentially intercepting people who were thinking about or researching alternative security systems,” explains Therese. Netwatch monitors and analyses its AdWords keywords regularly, allowing it to tweak the keywords if necessary to reflect searching trends.

Focus on content enhances organic SEO
Netwatch also used this invaluable keyword research to shape its website content in order to improve its ranking in Google’s organic search results. “Sometimes we speak our own language, but through our research we realised the terminology or words we use were not what people were familiar with so we brought our web copy into language that people would be searching for,” explains Therese. “We have three websites: our Irish site, and sites focusing specifically on the UK and US markets. We’ve done a lot of work in terms of our messaging in these local markets, and as a result we’re ranking well in search results and increasing our site traffic.”

In September 2012, almost 2,500 people visited the Netwatch site, clocking up 7,950 pageviews, an average of 3.3 pages per visit. This represents a significant 35% increase in visitors from the same period in 2011.

Leading the conversation through social media
In other efforts to boost its organic search ranking, Netwatch introduced an individual blog to its three sites. The blogs focus on key trends and developments in each of the markets. Importantly, Therese said management have bought in to the blog and it is regularly updated on each of the sites. “We’ve had great buy-in from our management team for our online strategy. We’ve even provided internal training to ensure everyone who needs to be is up to speed on online and developing our content strategy.”

The company’s online strategy also includes a well-developed social media presence. Having analysed the different social media platforms Netwatch decided to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn. “Our end users are predominantly business owners, so we see Twitter and LinkedIn as perfect mediums for us,” explains Therese.

Netwatch has a company page on LinkedIn where it posts status updates and lists available jobs. Netwatch employees also have individual LinkedIn profiles from where they interact with contacts and build up their network. The company also makes use of LinkedIn Groups, which Therese says is a useful way to keep up to date with what’s happening in their particular sector.

Netwatch primarily uses Twitter to interact with people. “We monitor searches and ‘mentions’ so we can identify if people are having conversations about Netwatch. If these conversations are happening we need to be there and get involved with the conversation,” says Therese.

Integrated campaigns pay dividends
“We’ve developed a solid online marketing strategy that continues to evolve. Online fits in well with our overall marketing approach – and we’ve run some very successful integrated campaigns that involve billboard, direct mail, online competition, QR codes and a Google AdWords campaign – this approach ensures a broad reach. With online in the mix, the potential of what we could be doing is limitless.”

We’ve just spent the week working with the 13 Irish companies at the Enterprise Ireland Stand at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in LA. That’s not counting the 20 or so other Irish Software companies that also attended the event.  It’s a big conference (about 15,000 attendees from around the world) and the quality of the people that we met was equally impressive.

From an ‘Ireland Inc’ point of view, what struck me how many people that knew about our current economic situation, but also how many people knew about the shining star that is the Irish Software sector. Invariably, these conversations were followed by a question ‘how can we help?’.

On a more personal note, I wanted to capture my thoughts on what worked, what didn’t work for the companies while it’s still fresh in my mind;

  1. Know why you’re going;  Going to an event like WPC isn’t cheap – a week of your time, even before conference ticket and travel costs. Be very clear about why you’re attending and who you need to meet.  Answers ranged from Market Research, to initial partner contacts, to seal relationships built online in the previous 12 months. (more…)

Location Based Services as a topic is becoming mainstream now with advent of smarter technology at our fingertips and greater levels of context relevant data being made available to consumers and businesses. In previous times LBS did not achieve the critical mass due to the technology offering falling short of consumer expectations. Now however the mobile internet is truly here and with it the expectation that the device will connect with location relevant data and personal profiles. Geographic data is a critical aspect of location based offerings as is the location management function of the service.

Enterprise Ireland, in association with Ordnance Survey Ireland and the Enterprise Europe Network are hosting an event on the 10th May to explore the dynamics of this topic . This seminar will promote and stimulate discussion around opportunities in this area. Topics include emerging trends, technology issues, cross platform mobile applications and the use of data analytics as toolset.…

Emerging Technologies and Business Opportunities in the Location Services Market.

Venue: Enterprise Ireland, The Plaza East Point Business Park, Dublin 3.

Time: 08:30 to 13:00 , Tuesday 10th May 2011.

To REGISTER go to ://www.een-ireland.ie/eei/events/register.asp?eventid=326 before 4th May 2011. Enquiries to email: mailto:techroadmap@enterprise-ireland.com or tel: Debbie Nolan +353 1 7272587 . Please register early to avoid disappointment – this is a FREE event but places are strictly limited to those who register.

We have recently completed a programme around Managed IT Services for a bunch of our clients (EI) and we gathered some useful insights in to the whole area of delivering remotely managed IT Services. Late last year we identified the need for a greater focus on this area and felt there was a sufficient context around which to build something, in particular:

  • Growing need from their customer base to reduce implementation costs and maintenance costs
  • Growing acceptance of new service delivery models (such as SaaS and cloud computing).
  • Reliable and ubiquitous broadband access, successful take-up of software delivery models and significant investment in next generation IT architecture is accelerating enterprise adoption of the IT as a service paradigm

As the SaaS model matures, fewer enterprises require the middleware – the onus of providing vital application integration is shifting to service providers  – Applications, processors, databases are becoming utilities and charged dynamically.

Our research identified that Financial services, public sector and manufacturing have heaviest spend in IT services and already 18% – 25% of companies using some form of managed IT service, with a further 37% – 48% either planning such a move or considering (source Datamonitor)

Early in the programme we had a discussion with each of the clients, most of whom had a strong desire to “get on” the cloud. Here is some of the thoughts that came back:

(more…)

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