Fact Sheet :
Business: Data visualization Products
Founder/CEO: Pallav Nadhani
“Even in this intangible world of software, it is all about people. Customers, employees, vendors, partners, industry watchers, they are all people. And people have their own aspirations, wants and needs, that you need to listen to and take care of. ”
– Pallav Nadhani, Founder and CEO , FusionCharts
Table of contents :
- Early days (Marketing)
- Idea to demand validation aka 1st Customers
- Launch of FusionCharts
- Summary of Marketing
- Advice from Pallav AKA Words from Pallav
The story that FusionCharts has written :
FusionCharts, part of InfoSoft Global Ltd, is privately held software provider of data visualization products. These are clean readable charts at an affordable price with minimal effort.
In the last decade, the company has been a stellar example of absolute genius of solving data monotony with their fascinating skills.
A 100% bootstrapped company, FusionCharts caters to 23,000 customers and 500,000 users in 120 countries. Apple, Google, ZOHO, Cisco, Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft are some of its major customers worldwide. It has clocked revenues of up to $7 million (Rs 39 crore) and has only been climbing the ladder ever since.
A) Launching the Idea :
The ideal choice that Pallav had was to create interesting and fascinating charts for the boring business presentations. In his early days, he encashed on his engineering skills and curated interesting chart that could go along with the articles that he wrote for ASP Today. With time, he received good response and thus developed his first product FXcharts that gave his customers different chart layouts for presenting and analyzing their businesses.
Pallav has directed all his energies in building his idea into a product. He did all the coding single-handedly in almost 3 months. However, to sell the product he had to price it well and check if there was enough demand for it in the market.
Virtual Software Store came to their rescue and gave them the lowest price software could be priced at – $15. The software store also helped them with collecting payments. However, the hefty 25% gateway fee was becoming a trouble. They kept cheque payments as an alternative.
2. Idea to demand validation aka 1st Customers :
Now that the product was ready for the market, it was significant to comprehend if the market was ready for the product.
- Technical sites: It was his obvious option for writing about the product and marketing it to his customer base. He also went back and discussed about his product with the developers at ASP Today.
- Word of mouth: Slowly the word travelled and his first purchase request hit his mail. He describes it as the ‘sweetest email anyone had ever written to him.’ He got his first cheque payment.
- Feedback: : He was in constant touch with his customers to understand their needs via the early downloaders and feature requests that kept coming in. He released 4 new versions of the FXgraphs in a span of few months.
3. First Set of Customer to Growth :
On 22nd October, 2002, he launched FusionCharts keeping in mind every mistake that he had made in the past.More Chart types, better documentation, a logo and a tagline to go added to the product. He backed this by sound payment options, completely removing cheque payments.
Pallav priced the user edition at $35 and developer Edition at $99. This was a product ready to explode!
i) Guest blogging on tech websites :
Blogging on tech websites had been the foundation stone of the FXgraphs and had worked exceedingly well for it. Thus, the tested method was applied at Fusion Charts as well. He drew comparisons between traditional charts and the new age modern choices that his tool presented.
The working and installation of his tool was indeed advanced and yet easy!
ii) Directories :
Tech directories were indeed another major market where the potential customers of Fusion charts could be easily targeted. These directories have a huge relevant crowd that would serve as a ready demand for the product at hand. Demand met supply!
As a startup if you’re interested, here are a 100+ directories that you can list yourself on.
iii) Featured listings :
Realizing the potential of directories, Pallav shelled out a hefty amount of $256 to get featured listings on directories, which was earlier used as a free platform to increase his visibility.
iv) Adwords :
Google Adwords were underpriced then and were indeed the best way to market your product extensively. He grasped the basics of search marketing and worked his way up to $1.4M company in the single financial year.
If you want to look at their exact SEM strategy, take a look at SEMrush.com and it will give you keywords, ad copy and ad strategy.
v) Resellers :
In non-speaking countries, Fusion Charts used the reseller model to their benefit across countries like China and South Korea. Fusion Charts were now hitting big numbers on all charts across revenues and accessibility! The reseller model is a 3 tier strategy wherein, the sellers are divided into Elite Resellers, Preferred Resellers and Authorized Resellers depending upon the sales they generate and the association they have with their buyers.
vi) India Trade Shows :
Trade shows in NASSCOM conclave familiarized people with his product and company with creative ideas of ‘make a chart, get a cookie’. It was a huge success.
vii) Huge PR coverage :
Almost all-home and foreign media treated Fusion charts as their own baby and threw immense amount of limelight on it. It a major marketing push!
Slideshare, a brand that has gone places, picked up a lot of modules of FusionCharts and published them on their websites only adding to the numbers that were accelerating at a good pace.
To understand how Slideshare grew from a tiny start-up into a mammoth in its industry, check this out.
ix) Growth numbers :
FusionCharts grew to10k users by March 2008 with $2.8M in revenue. It had a lot of the fortune 500 companies as part of their customer list including NASA and World Bank.
i) Gadgets for Google :
Stepping up to the opportunity presented by iGoogle, they released FusionCharts Google Gadget. Google put it out as a featured gadget and wrote about it on its blog. This was a classic example of free marketing being more valuable than paid marketing.
ii) Combating Competition:
His competition was twerking Pallav’s product and selling it at cheaper prices. Pallav combated competition very smartly by giving out the previous version for free when he launched a newer version of the product. Thus, making it the most inexpensive.
A) Marketing :
i) Creation of Book :
Luck favors the prepared. As the company reached 20k customer mark in 2012, Packt Publications came out with a proposal to write a beginner’s guide to Fusion Charts, making it the first data visualization solution in the industry to have a book!
ii) More trade shows :
International trade shows sealed its presence! It was bound to emerge at some point and it did so globally at these trade shows.
iii) Huge PR:
A) Obama : “ Obama follows FusionCharts on social media”, “the President loved them” were the biggest marketing stunts that created immense value for the company. Obama had personally put FusionCharts on the map!
B) Federal Charts : US Federal IT used Fusioncharts to display the statuses of important IT projects to the public. It was easy to build and easy to understand. Huge marketing tactic for the company!
iv) Sales Team :
Pallav decided that it is time to have a dedicated sales team at work. Even while setting up this team, he was clear that, sell FusionCharts to a customer only if he needs it.
FusionCharts came out with a new website that acts as a medium of communication between the company and its customers. All the new features and versions of a product could now be found at one place.
A lot of updates are released as and when the market demands. :
- Collaboration Filters on SharePoint in May,2018
- Brand new Dev-centre with videos and tutorials in March,2018
- FusionCharts v3.4 released in June, 2014
If this seemed interesting, take a look at our other marketing breakdowns that we’ve cracked for you earlier.
|LAUNCHING THE IDEA||Blogging + Charts visualization on technical sites like ASP Today.||Lost money on first sale.|
|IDEA → DEMAND VALIDATION||
||3D Version of FxGraphs had no buyers.|
|DEMAND VALIDATION → GROWTH||
||Competition that was stealing from FS.|
|GROWTH TO EXPANSION||OFFLINE:
Partnerships with larger events
- Advice from Pallav AKA Words from Pallav :
Pallav has had his blinkers on for more than a decade and a half. From the horse’s mouth :
“The past decade as a sum of business learnings has been nothing short of tremendous. Nothing in the business world is carved in stone. Traditional business wisdom has no guarantee of working for you. Business isn’t just about your product or service, a large part of it is about what people feel about you. A genuine conversation, a good story, they all add up. “