At the time of the engagement, WebCT, Inc. was a venture backed, leading provider of e-Learning solutions for higher education. Today it is fully absorbed into Blackboard, International – the industry leader in education technology. Marketing Recon assignments testing key domestic and international market development initiatives and identification stakeholders in various market segments. Other assignments have involved product development research, marketing planning, and value proposition development and testing.
Business Growth Challenge
There were several significant market development initiatives underway at WebCT. Among the most critical was international expansion. During this engagement, overseas markets such as Australia and the UK were evaluated for expanded products and services into new market segments including vocational training.
During a later engagement, WebCT was making a critical analysis of two evolving “challenges” to educational technology – Assessment and Accreditation. To address either problem required WebCT to move out of the IT department into the office of the Provost. Through in depth interviews with university Provosts and secondary research – analysis and recommendations were made as to where to place bets in new product development.
Additional projects included best practices/benchmarking reviews on international expansion and input to sales channel development.
Deliverables and Results
Each of these market expansion efforts would require a significant investment in either new, or extremely enhanced versions of the core products and services of the company. The work done for WebCT was well in advance of any sales initiatives provided solid direction for the company’s new market and product development investments. In one case, the market said loud and clear – “don’t spend your development time on this, as we will not invest resources against this challenge.”
Jacqueline worked closely with the WebCT executive team and did so as our marketing needs evolved. She led high level research initiatives involving international marketing strategy, product development, and new market development. Each separate initiative has included in-depth discussions with key industry stakeholders and customers on behalf of WebCT. She has also identified potential partners in a new market segment which involved a review of a dozen separate vertical industries and prioritization for WebCT’s future market activities. The research is actionable, timely, and directly supportive of our marketing and sales teams.
Jacqueline’s support to WebCT is provided with minimal guidance from our team and the resulting recommendations have produced new insights, new or stronger relationships, and alternatives for market positioning. Her approach and insights balance the needs of both sales and marketing and she gained respect from our executive team in a relatively short period of time. Working with Jacqueline is easy as she was able to interact with our team as a peer yet was able to enhance our perspective with her own opinions and experience.Karen Gage, VP Marketing, WebCT