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Behind the Scenes: The Launch of Hands-Free

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At SimplyCast, a new service was created that will take away the stress of managing marketing projects and it's called Hands-Free. Saeed El-Darahali the President and CEO of SimplyCast along with Alissa MacDougall - Senior Marketing Specialist, and Jay Vickers - Director of Strategy worked together to create and launch this service.

Hands-Free, put simply, allows SimplyCast clients to be more effective with their marketing strategies without putting in countless hours of the day managing marketing software. Instead, the Hands-Free team will do all of your marketing work for you by creating and managing campaigns, writing and designing content, and reporting on ongoing campaigns.

The idea for Hands-Free came from Saeed.  "I came up with the Hands-Free concept, I came up with the pricing, the roles that should be conducted, and the training. I was also the person to recruit some of the Hands-Free customers for Alissa for her to manage on behalf of the company."

"The Hands-Free service was launched almost two months ago. We've had three clients sign up at this point," Saeed said. "So far the first client has gone very well. They are in the real estate space. We have created a lot of funnels, newsletters, and opportunities for them."

The Hands-Free team has been working quite efficiently to provide and continue services for Hands-Free clients. Saeed has said SimplyCast has signed a new client, based in New Brunswick, and they are paying on a month-to-month basis. "So far Hands-Free has been a great success for the company. We learned a lot - it's been a great learning opportunity for our team because we've never done this type of service before but there's a lot of opportunities for us to improve the service as we continue to scale up."

Things progressed well with only a few hiccups along the way. "We had some issues because it was the early stages of developing this program, so customer expectations and us setting expectations was something that we needed to hone a little bit because it's a brand new service. You know customers expect the world if you set the right scope for a project. With our first clients, we set an unlimited scope and we had to spend a lot more time and effort with the client to ensure that we were delivering on what they have requested. So, that's a learning that we had through that process and the issues that we faced. So, the customer wants everything and we can't really do everything unless they provide us information before we actually begin the work."

Alissa said the launch of Hands-Free was "pretty good and things went smoothly from start to finish."  For Alissa, launching Hands-Free was a learning experience. "A lot of Hands-free was a learning process for me. "Since I haven't launched a service before, I had to learn how to create a business plan, checklists, basically creating a process from scratch."

One of the most important things to do when a project is complete is looking back at what lessons did you learn. "I learned a lot about how to interact with clients on a one to one basis." By the end of this project, Alissa had the knowledge of how to write a business plan, she learned a lot about the app itself since she was using the app to create flows for the clients.

The next person who worked on the Hands-Free project is Jay Vickers - Director of Strategy. Jay worked on marketing and communication strategies for Hands-free clients. "The Hands-Free project was very exciting to work on because it was a new initiative." Jay said. He was very happy to be a member of the team because of his experience working with SimplyCast's managed service product, which has similarities to Hands-Free but isn't as involved. The Hands-Free team was able to use a lot of the information learned from the managed service so they were able to be more aware of the challenges of offering a service like this.

A few ways Jay and the team were able to address some issues was they had a number of planning sessions and put to use what was learned from the information provided by the managed service project. "The biggest problems that we encountered were managing expectations for some of the customers," Jay said. "It was learned early in the process we had to be very specific on when we require materials and when the customers could expect to receive the deliverables." The way this problem was handled was by creating a checklist so people can have a good idea of the kinds of timelines to expect.

During this planning process, Alissa and Jay made sure to be very thorough with their checklists. One of the things that Jay took away from this experience was to put a lot of planning in place in the beginning. "You can never spend too much time on the planning phase, I guess obviously you can spend too much time but it never hurts to really spend a lot of careful time planning out the process and trying to foresee all the possible outcomes. "I guess if I could do anything differently next time it would probably be to have a trial customer run through the process before we put anything in place."

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