I was responsible for the MYOB Cover product during most of my time at MYOB. This is a support product people purchase after buying the software, which gives them access to technical support and upgrades (and, at the time I started, not much more).
Neither of these services was particularly tangible. When you’re asking a small business to fork out over $350 (the price at the time) for something they can’t touch or see, it makes the service incredibly difficult to sell. It is a grudge purchase and effectively insurance for their software.
Having come from lastminute.com in the UK, I was used to the concept of making things tangible – an online business in 2000 was still something people didn’t always quite get. When I was given responsibility for Cover, I had a look at what was being offered and I thought, “Well, I wouldn’t fork out that much money for that.”
What was ‘that’?
- a CD in a cardboard sleeve
- black and white support notes
- cardboard mailer
…all of which people might just throw out when they received it, thinking it was junk. The CD could be required at any time during the year but, like all CDs, would probably get lost, and then they would have to pay for a replacement. Separately, once a year, we would also send out an end-of-financial-year guide, which was poly-wrapped with a fly sheet, to help answer EOFY processing questions.
I set myself the task of productising Cover so it would have obviously tangible benefits customers could actually touch and feel year-long. I wanted them to see what they had forked out their money for – and hopefully they would fork it out again the next year.
Our first task was working with our marketing service team to improve the packaging, the look and feel of the notes, and incorporate the EOFY guide with the overall mailer. We wanted this to be something customers would put on their bookshelves so when they needed assistance with MYOB, they could find it all in one place. It would be convenient and demonstrate to customers why they had parted with their money. It would also help to ensure the CD didn’t become a coffee coaster.
We created a pack which we refined over the three years I worked on the ‘product’. Interestingly, combining the mailers and making them into a ‘folder’ actually cost less than the old cardboard mailer and separate EOFY guide (thanks to a really talented graphic designer and negotiations with suppliers).
The feedback we received from customers was positive and while it was difficult to prove – as we also did a few things with pricing etc – it did appear to add greater tangibility to the product. Partner and technical support, who had the job of guiding customers through the process, also loved the new product because finally everything was in one place and it was easy for customers to find – rather than having separate items all rattling around their office.
After this, my team and I went about further productising Cover with other features, but we started with giving the core product tangibility before we worked on building it out. If people don’t believe in the core, add-ons are just that and don’t drive purchase or re-purchase.
This is one of the great projects I worked on during my career because there were so many positives for all parties – MYOB, partners and, most importantly, customers. It’s something I’m still very proud of being part of.