business department and then upgrade the technical department. And in every
growth phase you should follow the same steps. "Otherwise you are soon bankrupt
because you might have the salespeople but nothing to sell or the sophisticated
machines to produce fancy content but no content or no people to sell it."
TOL will target the following prioritized market segments:
TOL has experienced a steady growth in interest from universities, especially those
with strong Slavic departments. North American and Western European universities
have proven a solid source of income. The number of current university members is
approaching 30, including leading institutions such as Columbia University, Indiana
University, and Princeton University. This is the result of limited marketing efforts.
Not only do these large scale memberships generate solid, annually renewable
income, but following up with promotional materials for campus distribution can
generate large amounts of visitors to TOL s site.
The corporate client segment has largely been neglected by TOL. Companies that
either invest in the region, plan to invest, or advise those that invest undoubtedly
need high quality political information. Covering the entire region, TOL provides
coverage and perspectives often overlooked by major news carriers. This can be
especially important to political risk analysts at consulting companies, who can
improve and extend their client services by using TOL s unique coverage to extend
their knowledge base.
Individual users. They must be reached either via resource demanding personal
sales or via mass marketing campaigns. Given the subscription rate and TOL s
limited resources, a personal sales approach does not make much sense. TOL will
rely on targeted mass marketing to reach individual users. First, TOL will carefully
investigate different approaches to reach individuals in different professional
categories. The importance of these mass marketing campaigns is not only to
increase traffic to the TOL site, but to also increase the "word of mouth" effect. The
growth in public awareness of TOL would then be exponential.
International organizations. Major organizations like the United Nations, NATO, and
the European Union employ analysts and advisors that would benefit greatly from
TOL membership. NATO, The World Bank, and the OECD are already members. TOL
believes that this market segment is crucial not only for reasons of traffic and
income, but in terms of the increased visibility and added credibility of being
associated with these organizations.
Media organizations are important for promoting TOL content and content
development services as well as for the development of the TOL Syndicate. TOL will
target the main media players in order to become an important content provider.
TOL s recent content providing agreement with CNN.com and Time.com, as well as
regular online discussions hosted by WashingtonPost.com in the past, prove that a
relatively small media outlet can reach a global audience provided that its content
is strong enough. The TOL Wire editor will be attending media conferences and serve
as the permanent liaison between TOL and local and international media partners.