Zoho is getting ready to release TV ads in the U.S. and Canada as part of a broader marketing effort to boost adoption of its Amazon Prime-style approach to licensing a variety of business applications.
Besides the TV spots, Zoho has been holding a series of events for customers and prospects that tout the integrated nature of its CRM, e-mail and other productivity tools to everyone from large enterprises to, increasingly, small businesses and even “solopreneurs” who operate a company of one.
According to Raj Vegesna, Zoho chief evangelist, the firm’s biggest challenges include reach and visibility, which is why the time felt right to develop more of a mass-marketing campaign.
“The theme (of the ads) is basically that you can focus on your business while we take care of the way it runs,” he told B2B News Network. “The integrated suite is the differentiator, along with the pricing and breadth of the suite and all of that. What we have seen based on conversations so far is that once people use Zoho, they use more and more of Zoho.”
Like Amazon, whose Prime membership gives access to a range of services and discounts on products to consumers, Zoho last year launched Zoho One, which offers its complete range of business applications for a flat free of $30 a month. The suite started with about 35 different tools and will likely include an additional 10 by the end of this year, Vegesna said. The average Zoho One customer uses about 10 of its applications today, he added, but if they need more as they grow and expand, what it calls an operating system for business is likely to have it for them.
Though he’s often asked when the company will increase the price beyond $30, Vegesna said if anything, Zoho would like to reduce it to grow its user base. He likens the concept to paying for Netflix, where a subscriber might not watch most of the TV shows and movies but values having a lot at their disposal.
That focus on being affordable and helpful to small businesses and freelancers doesn’t mean customers will miss out on the more innovative work being done by the likes of SAP or Oracle, however, Vegesna said.
“Consider each product as ingredient,” he suggested. The company offers both e-mail hosting like Google, as well as the ability to send mass messages like MailChimp. That means Zoho could theoretically apply artificial intelligence or machine learning to automate and optimize both the way messages are delivered and received. “As we add more tools, the kind of recipes we create will explode.”
Despite is growth plans, Vegesna said Zoho remains committed to remaining private and not accepting any venture capital money. The company added between 1,000 to 1,500 employees last year and will likely double its headcount within five years, he predicted.