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Public Release of Task Pigeon’s Go To Market Strategy

Today I wanted to take the openness and transparency of Task Pigeon to the next level, and publicly release our Go To Market Strategy.

This strategy has been developed using the framework of Mark Leslie, Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as it appeared on the First Round Capital blog.

As a startup I think it can be easy to “write plans for the sake of writing plans”, so have kept this document fairly concise.

It is more a framework through which we will assess all marketing, sales and promotional initiatives we undertake at Task Pigeon as we proceed with our launch.

Go To Market Strategy – Overview:

Task Pigeon Go To Market Strategy

Task Pigeon, task management software for teams, adopts a “marketing intensive” go to market strategy, where marketing is the primary generator of demand and the product is sold on a “self service model”.

This strategy overview looks at a number of key elements within the go to market, including:

  • Pricing
  • Market Size
  • Complexity
  • Fit
  • Customer Type (B2B or B2C)
  • Customer Relationship Model
  • Whether the product requires a high or low touch sales cycle.

In general Task Pigeon is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that is marketed on a freemium model. Our premium/business tier is priced on a price per user, per month basis with a low level of personal interaction required during the sale. This allows Task Pigeon to adopt a marketing intensive approach that is more in common with B2C sales, than tradition enterprise/B2B sales cycles.

Go To Market Strategy – Pricing

Task Pigeon adopts a freemium model as a software as a service application.

The premium/business tier of Task Pigeon provides additional functionality for larger teams (more than five users), as well as additional integrations and features to improve productivity and accountability.

The premium/business tier of Task Pigeon is charged on a per user, per month basis, with pricing starting at $9 USD.

An Enterprise Tier will also be developed in the future, but is not currently available.

Go To Market Strategy – Market Size

Task Pigeon Go To Market Strategy - Back of The Envelope
Back of the napkin maths on Groove HQ

Task Pigeon is targeting widespread adoption of the application through the use of a freemium model, and low cost per user, per month premium/business option.

According to Global Market Insights the collaboration software market is forecast to grow at 13% CAGR from 2016 to 2024 and exceed USD $8.5 billion by 2024.

The majority of this demand is likely to be generated by North America, with Latin America being a identified as a potential region for strong growth. (Source).

Further evidence that supports this approach is highlighted by Mark Hansen in his blog post on the market potential of SaaS provider Groove HQ. Groove, is a ~3 year old startup founded by Alex Turnbull.

Groove provides customer support software and choose to enter a market even though there was already established players in the space, including Zendesk and desk.com. (Source). There are many similarities between this market, and the task management/collaboration space.

To hit $100,000 in MRR, and assuming an average team size of three ($27 USD in monthly revenue), Task Pigeon would need to acquire 3,704 (rounded up) customers.

As Mark Hansen’s analysis on the company shows, there is 125 million Small to Medium Business in the world.

Taking a conservative 5% of this number as businesses that could benefit from a SaaS solution we are left with 6 million potential customers.

Mark then applies the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the business is taken by the top 3 providers. In the task management space this would be the likes of Trello, Asana and Basecamp.

This leaves 1.2 million potential customers. (Source)

To hit $100,000 in MRR, and assuming an average team size of three ($27 USD in monthly revenue), Task Pigeon would need to acquire 3,704 (rounded up) customers.

Put another way this conservative market size estimate of 1.2 million customers could support 323 companies (rounded down), each generating $100,000 in MRR in the task management space.

The market may never actually have this number of competitors, as other factors will no doubt come into play, but the exercise provides interesting insight into the potential adopting a SaaS model provides in the SMB space.

Go To Market Strategy – Complexity

The core premise of Task Pigeon is to create an application that is simple and easy to use.

While we will provide on-boarding and free user training one of the defining metrics the company is measured against is the ability of our customers to open up the tool and intuitively know what to do.

Often people confuse simple, with cheap, or not effective for the task at hand, but some recent analysis by Mitt Tarasowski showed that products based on disruptive technologies are typically cheaper, simpler, smaller, and more convenient to use, and this leads to a competitive advantage. (Source)

Mitt’s analysis was in reference to the recent acquisition of Trello, by Australian-founded tech giant, Atlassian. While I don’t agree with each point raised by Mitt in his essay, the basic premise of simple products becoming more complex, which in turn leaves a gap in the market is one I believe in.

Task Pigeon Go To Market Strategy - Gap in Market

As these two graphs show, the complexity of Jira, created a vacuum for innovation which Trello exploited. However, Trello too will continue to increase in complexity (and perhaps do so at an accelerated rate), as the customers Atlassian needs to sell to in order to continue to grow and reward their shareholders are not going to be found at the lower end of the market. This in turn creates a new opportunity for competitors such as Task Pigeon.

 

Task Pigeon Go To Market Strategy - Trello GrowthGo To Market Strategy – Fit

Fit largely refers to a consumer or businesses ability to use the product or service “straight out of the box”. To determine whether your product or service is classified as high or low fit, a simple question to ask is whether a customer can self-serve, or do they require education?

Fit, should also not be confused with complexity. As Mark Leslie,  Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, highlights in his essay on go to market strategy, complex products can still have a high level of “fit”. For example a Tesla (or Apple iphone) is a complex product. By the experience for the user is easy and intuitive. Therefore “fit” is considered high. (Source)

Given Task Pigeon is focused on a low cost, self-service model and intuitive interface we are focused on adopting a high “fit” approach. Immediately, upon signing up for Task Pigeon the user should be able to ascertain the value of, and start using the product without the need for formal or complex on-boarding or training.

Go To Market Strategy – Customer

Typically the two customer segments are defined as B2B (business to business), or B2C (business to consumer), however as the recent success of companies such as Slack have shown (and to a lesser extent Trello) the “consumerization” of the enterprise has opened up a channel for B2B software vendors to target the end users directly.

In particular, Stuart Butterfield, the co-founder and CEO of Slack mentions (emphasis added):

“For small organizations, team and company may be one and the same. But if you look at an organization of 15,000 people, you end up with a situation like Adobe, with nine paid Slack teams,” he says. That proved to be a helpful loophole. They didn’t have to go through the long process of gaining buy-in from CIOs or other top management. “Mid-level managers could say, ‘This thing sounds cool, let’s try it out for our team.’ If they liked it, it was affordable enough to just expense it.”  

As a result it is now much easier (and more common) for SaaS companies to sell more like a B2C player. By bypassing procurement or IT, companies can adopt new technology and services at a faster rate, and simply expense the cost for their team. These are just some of the benefits of adopting a SaaS model.

Task Pigeon will take this approach with their go to market strategy and “speak” directly to managers and employees looking for productivity and collaboration tools in their marketing material and campaigns.

Go To Market Strategy – Relationship

Task Pigeon will operate as a Software as a Service model with per month pricing. As a result the goal is to acquire and grow a long term customer base.

To increase lifetime value we aim to use marketing, sharing our story and educating users to drive long term value for our customers and secure Task Pigeons stop as their go to task management tool.

A key aspect of our strategy here is building a “brand” that people can relate to. This in particular, is reflected in our open and transparent model where we blog about what happens at Task Pigeon on a regular basis.

Go To Market Strategy – Touch

Touch refers to the the level of individual interaction (and customisation) you have to provide in order to secure a sale.

Typically, enterprise wide solutions require long term engagements to install and on-board users onto the software. The SaaS model changes this approach as there is no on-premise installation required and the software is largely self-service.

While this one-size-fits all approach limits customisation, it does allow for your marketing and sales efforts to compound.

An additional benefit is that resources can be diverting to improving the product, rather than retaining and compensating a large sales force who are required to meet potential customers in person.

Task Pigeon follows the SaaS model and is therefore a low touch product with no customisation required for each individual user.

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  • Go for it! I think one interesting test you could do could be to survey or talk to people using your product. Find out if they “would” pay for it or not.

    If they say “no” then you know you need to work on product market fit more. If they say “yes” you’ve got yourself a winner.

    How do you plan to grow Task Pigeon from your current user base?

    • Paul Towers – Founder @ Task Pigeon

      Hi Luke thanks for your comment and sorry for my delayed reply.

      Yes, definitely believe in trying to pre-sell the product. We tried that as part of our pre-launch/idea validation strategy. I wrote a blog post on it if you are interested in taking a read.

      We are now into that next “phase” where we need to grow our user base. We are still testing out marketing channels but at the moment are looking at content marketing (i.e. this blog), Facebook Ads, Google Ads and some other outreach activities.

      I will be sure to keep you posted on the success (or otherwise) of each campaign

  • Paul, I am smack in the middle of your target market. I have previously used Basecamp before switching to Podio. I have also tested Trello, Slack and others on the way through.

    My question to you is ‘where is your USP?’ While I appreciate your transparency, I have yet to be tempted to even look at Task Pidgeon. It may well be superior to our current tool but if I can’t find a reason to at least try it, I am unlikely to wake up on day and decide to switch.

    I used Basecamp (and it’s various add-ons) for at least two years but always found it a bit ‘clunky’ – almost as though everything was just hanging on by a couple of bolts. Podio was a breath of fresh air (for me) in that it was designed as a single, comprehensive solution that was very easily customised (as well as having an ‘off the shelf’ app library). The simplicity of a customised solution was, to me, their USP.

    And that leads me back to the question… what is yours?

    • Paul Towers – Founder @ Task Pigeon

      Hi David, thanks for your message.

      Podio looks interesting. It’s not a task management tool I have previously used myself.

      Our research before launching showed that there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to task management. Some people will love Trello, others Asana, etc.

      The way we are approaching it resonated with enough of our audience to take the next step and build the product. That said, we know there is still a lot more to do and add.

      Our central hypothesis is that your team should be able to work however they like. For some people that will be post it style tasks (like we currently have), lists, from their email inbox, using boards, etc. So the future of Task Pigeon is about providing this flexibility and not restricting your team members to using a list style layout just because that’s what you as the manager prefer (for example).

      Talk soon

      Paul

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