Merinda Manwaring – Simplifying Subscriptions with Subitt

Subitt is a student-run company that is working to develop a software that would allow small businesses to create and control subscriptions. I joined Subitt’s marketing team with the goal of finding businesses willing to try their platform, and increasing the awareness of Subitt’s brand through social media marketing.

As an aspiring communications professional, I am passionate about marketing and content creation. While I have experience marketing in different industries, this was the first time I have focused on business-to-business marketing. The purpose of joining Subitt’s marketing team was to gain experience in this new-to-me form of marketing and grow as a marketer.

Project Process and Products

Phase 1: Branding

The first task I took on for Subitt was solidifying its brand image. As one of the first designers brought onto the team, I reviewed and updated Subitt’s existing logo, website, and general style to maintain consistency and professionalism.

Above is the before-and-after transformation of Subitt’s logo. As you can see, only minimal changes were made. I thought the original logo matched Subitt’s brand of simplicity, but I wanted to add an element that would differentiate Subitt’s logo from normal text. After playing with multiple ideas, I decided on curving the “i” to represent the cyclical nature of Subitt’s subscriptions.

Subitt has a team of incredible developers who work hard to bring the idea of Subitt to life. When I joined the Subitt team, they had just finished the landing page for the website. I reviewed the landing page’s text and suggested several edits to make the wording more concise and appealing to business owners interested in Subitt. Above is one of the many screenshots I sent to the developers that had lettered edits linked to a Google Doc with my suggestions.

Once Subitt settled on a logo and main colors for the landing page, I decided to create a style guide that would encompass all of the design decisions we make as a brand. This way all future employees of Subitt can contribute to a consistent brand image with original creators or files being present. In the style guide, I included our logo variations, color scheme, and typography.

Phase 2: Content Creation and Social Media Marketing

The next task I worked on for Subitt was content creation and social media marketing. I worked with two other members of the marketing team, Gideon and Parker, to create several social media posts over the past few months. I created all of the graphics posted on Subitt’s Instagram using Canva and wrote all of the Instagram captions. I assisted Gideon and Parker in the video production of Subitt’s Instagram reels and promotional videos. Subitt’s Instagram feed is shown below.

Phase 3: Business Outreach

While I continued to manage Subitt’s Instagram, the marketing team focused on reaching out to businesses to see if they would be interested in participating in a demo of Subitt’s platform. This was a new experience for me, and I learned a lot from my CEO and other members of the marketing team.

The first step required when contacting businesses is creating a good contact list. Our CEO had a list of local businesses already set up, but we wanted to add as many businesses to the list as possible to increase our chances of success. One of my main responsibilities was adding contacts to the list. As a marketing team, we decided that our target audience should be local small business owners that had repeat customers. This meant I was looking for active businesses that were located within Idaho, had less than 1,500 followers on Instagram, and had a good or service that could be sold through a subscription. For example, I might add a local nail technician, but not a realtor. Using this set of criteria, I scoured Instagram and added as many local businesses to our list that I could. During my time working for Subitt, I added over 100 businesses to our contact list.

While adding to Subitt’s contact list, the marketing team began to contact businesses. At first, we began contacting business owners via email. This was an unsuccessful tactic as we received zero responses. We then decided to pivot and reach out to businesses via Instagram direct message and Facebook messaging. This was significantly more successful. With both of these platforms, we had the ability to know if the businesses we contacted received our message, and most did. Around half of the businesses responded to us, whether it was a polite “no” or follow-up questions. We were able to secure our first demo within the first week began messaging businesses over social media! However, this momentum did decline within a few weeks. We decided to pivot again and try cold calling. While a lot of businesses did not answer the phone the first time we called them, having a personal connection with business owners was successful! We were able to secure two more demos with this method.

With all of the business outreach methods we tried, we wrote a script to help us keep our contact short but effective. For email and social media messaging, we were able to copy and paste the first message to see if that garnered any interest. We also had a few frequently asked questions that we had scripts prepared for so we didn’t have to scramble to come up with a response. When we prepared for cold calling, our CEO brought in an experienced salesman to walk us through the process and answer some of our questions. We also had a few mock cold call sessions with our CEO to ensure we were prepared for the toughest reactions.

Challenges

There were a few challenges I encountered during my experience marketing for Subitt. The first one was that I was unsure how to successfully market a product like Subitt. As I mentioned before, I have had experience marketing in other industries. I have successfully marketed food and tutoring services. However, Subitt is a platform that is still in development. This means I’m not marketing a product, I’m marketing an idea. As a marketing team, we ran into difficulties with this because we didn’t have any “evidence” to show potential customers. We couldn’t even show them a completed website. In addition, a lot of business owners seemed to have found a process that works for them and they didn’t see the need to jump to a new platform at the moment. Another issue we ran into was customer retention. We were able to schedule three demos, but Subitt isn’t ready to be launched until the end of January, a date that was pushed back a few times. How do we keep businesses interested after the demo when our platform still has months until it’s ready?

What is the solution to these problems? Even now, I don’t know the answer. As a marketing team and a company, we have tried a few strategies over the past few months, but nothing has been successful yet. Although it can be frustrating at times, this is part of the learning experience and will push me to become a better marketer.

Insights and Overall Experience

I am proud of the work I have done for Subitt this semester. Although the numerical success as far as follower count, engagement, or demos scheduled was significantly lower than what I had hoped for, I have learned a lot and grown as an aspiring communications professional. I challenged myself by attempting to market a unique product to a specific target audience. I also ventured into the world of sales by communicating directly with business owners.

Although it may seem cliche, I also learned many lessons about working in a corporate setting. I am very comfortable working in a team, but I have never done marketing under the direction of a supervisor before. I had to learn how to balance the expectations of my CEO with my own knowledge and expertise. I had to learn how to collaborate with people in different departments, and the necessity of long (and sometimes boring) meetings.

Overall, I am thankful for my time with Subitt. It has been a time of discovery, growth, and most importantly, fun!

Video