a point of impression sales tool dynamically connecting vendors, tastemakers and consumers across the web


Introduction

Marsella is an ecommerce-powered marketing tool which dynamically connects vendors, tastemakers and consumers on native content properties across the web. We are enabling Point of Impression(TM) sales transactions. 

Marsella is an embeddable iFrame widget containing a single instance of a good for sale. Marsella is a tiny slice of e-commerce which can be embedded anywhere you can embed a Tweet. With Marsella, products are brought directly to consumers through curating entities such as weblogs or social channels. This process will enable vendors and content publishers to build a transparent, clearly-incentivized long-term approach to more effective content marketing.

The purpose of Marsella is to provide shoppers with recommendations and private shopping experiences while supporting content creation (for the blogger, or other curator) and market penetration (for the vending brand). Brands and influencers who engage Marsella will find themselves one crucial step closer to converting their marketing directly into sales. In the case of curators, shopping through hosted Marsella widgets is a transparent way for customers to support their favorite web properties. Marsella does not require the end customers  to maintain an account with either us, the Vendor or the Curator. This freedom to buy with relative anonymity allows Vendors to access difficult or emerging markets.

Marsella is designed to be initiated by almost any participant in the sales side of an e-commerce transaction. Vendors, marketers and web property managers can all utilize Marsella to connect and share products with customers. The focus of Marsella is placing products in front of targeted consumers and making the purchase as simple as possible from the moment a good is offered.

A few examples of the concerns we address:

  • Web property owners, such as the managers of blogs or social feeds, can utilize Marsella to create a transparent relationship between themselves and their advertising partners. A blog, for example, can have a policy of only reviewing goods they like, and selling goods they like directly to their readership. As the number of curation channels increases, the need to maintain audience confidence will prevent the web property owner from abusing their audience’s trust.
  • Purveyors of goods with atypically low profit margins - live event tickets, for example - can use Marsella’s embeddability to target specific groups of consumers as they engage with specific third-party web properties. Marsella goes where the customers go.
  • Vendors can operate directly with consumers, without requiring the consumer to expose themselves to unreasonable risk of personal data loss.

Our Product Offering

Marsella exists at the intersection of marketing and e-commerce. Marsella is a tool that enables vendors and curators to sell single items or collections of items from a widget embedded directly into a potential consumer’s daily web content, such as a blog post. Marsella’s service and sales widget is designed to be initiated by any participant in the sales side of an e-commerce transaction. Vendors, marketers and web property managers can all utilize Marsella to provide higher value to product exposure.

With Marsella, vendors and curators are empowered to form transparent, mutually beneficial relationships. Vendors gain exposure by sharing Marsella widgets for merchandising and e-tailing with content curators. Content curators gain a revenue stream by converting readers into customers via embedded Marsella widgets. Consumers gain opportunities to make a purchase at the point of impression, without having to clicking through to another site or creating a customer account. 

Marsella’s focus is on placing products in front of targeted consumers and making the purchase as simple and rapid as possible from the moment a good is offered. This simple recipe addresses a number of concerns.


Market & Opportunities

E-commerce is seeing wide growth in all sectors and by all measure of statistic. Related industries (especially mobile communication and personal computing) are expanding in both capability and global access. The Marsella system is designed and developed with a focus on audience adaptability.

Currently, online marketing is a game of conversion. Expensive content is produced and disseminated through content marketing or affiliate marketing with the goal of converting sales. The blogosphere and the original soap operas work off the same techniques - hook consumers with content, and show them carefully integrated product offerings within that content. By introducing products outside of a store environment, Marsella enables emotional connections to take root.

In the case of online ad sales, when a brand’s ad is clicked the ad network and publisher make a small fee, while the brand receives the opportunity to convert a sale. This model represents a significant chunk of brand-publisher interactions across digital media. 

The Internet is enormous. The conversion process potentially happens as many as 3 billion times a day - assuming everyone with access to the Internet sees an ad once in a 24 hour period. The reality is very likely much, much higher. It’s not unreasonable to assume that there are upwards of 5 billion unique conversion opportunities offered on a daily basis.  

However, as online ad sales increase, consumers remain unconvinced or unmotivated by the ads presented to them. A growing number of internet users are opting to block ads either for convenience or privacy. When ads don’t hold up publications, other elements need to take their place to create revenue streams for the publisher. Additionally new exposure/conversion opportunities are required for the vendor. These new opportunities are typically being engaged under content marketing strategies. Content marketing includes the creation and sharing of media or published work whose primary purpose of customer acquisition and retention. 

On behalf of brands, content publishers are increasingly engaging in affiliate marketing, as well as publishing sponsored content. The effectiveness and honesty of this relationship as it pertains to consumers varies greatly from industry to industry. The ambiguous nature of advertorial content can be difficult to determine from editorial content - this is by design. As a result brands and publishers are experiencing tension with their customers. Some customers know when they are being pitched, and some do not. In extreme cases, this sort of atmosphere naturally leads to a #GamerGate.

Vendors typically also have their own content publishing channels, which contribute to and interact with content publisher’s channels in the blogosphere. Over 93% of B2B and 86% of B2C operators on the Internet engage content marketing strategies. Content marketing is responsible for one third of the average business' digital marketing budget, and the share is only growing. However, when queried most business owners respond that content marketing is not effective, or not effective enough. This statement makes sense when intersected with HubSpot's statement that “only 24% of marketers claim they have the ability to measure content return on investment (ROI).” And even though marketers aren’t necessarily proving their worth, 71% of marketers will be getting an increased content marketing budget moving into 2015.

Savages find the current tools available for online marketing inefficient, expensive and demonstrably unpalatable to a growing number of consumers. We were able to identify key breaks in the conversion process, both for the vendor and the content publishers, and believe that Marsella is the solution. By enabling curators to embed a Point of Sale into their content, and make a commision on transactions converted directly from their space, Marsella offers an alternative to current marketing techniques.  


Process

Savages mainly work as producers. Our skill is in managing teams of teams, which is the approach we will be using to execute this project. In particular, members of Savages have worked on a number of projects with internationally-based groups of creative and production personnel. We will be utilizing this experience to enable development to be as cost-effective as possible. We are working with Oxagile, a development firm located in Belarus, to initiate our bidding process. Our expectation is to be looking at a reasonably accurate estimate by earlyJanuary 2015.


Revenue

*Financial Model is currently being built. 


Product & Services 

The process begins with a Vendor populating their private Inventory List. Add Product enables the Vendor to upload stock information, a photo, and any sales information specific to a product. This process creates an Initial Product Instance to work with on the Inventory ListWidgets may only be drafted from Initial Product Instances on the active Inventory List. After creating a Widget Draft, the Vendor may select to save or share the Widget Draft.

When sharing a product for curation, the Vendor may choose which info fields may be edited by the Curator, what percentage of the sale they’ll share with the Curator, and if the Curator can publish a Widget without receiving the Vendor’s approval. The Vendorcan then chose to share with a specific Curator Account(s) they are connected to, ormay share on the Global Inventory List. The Global Inventory List is accessible by MarsellaCurators internationally.

The Global Inventory List is where Curators browse available goods to find products they want to endorse to their readership. Marsella enables Vendors to increase the relevance of online ad sales from to something which is, in a sense, not unlike “100%”. Marsella Widgets are embedded - there’s no such thing as a “Marsella storefront,” as much as there is the possibility to display many Widgets on one page. This distinction’s relevance is that each display of a content-embedded Marsella Widget is, technically speaking, as invited by the viewer as the rest of the accompanying content. MarsellaWidget’s are embedded with intention, just the same as a Tweet or a YouTube video. The Widget is ideally always directly related to other content on the same web page - for example, a product called out in a review or featured in a fashion shoot.

The Global Inventory List will be optimized for searchability. Curators will be able to browse by product tag, category, type, vendor, price, inventory quantity, location, and by the date the Widget Draft was shared. If a Widget is enabled for Curator editing and requires approval by the Vendor before posting, or if the Curator would like to request more editing capabilities, then the Widget Draft will require Vendor approval before it can be activated by the Curator. If the Widget is “locked” for editing, the widget may not be edited and does not require approval.

Whenever anyone, Vendor or Curator, saves a Widget to their Widget Managementlist, an Instance of the Initial Product Instance is created. All Instances track their inventory back to the Initial Product Instance so the Vendor may have a clear account of the state of their Inventory and overall sell-through, while still getting granular high-level control over sales channel performance review from the core of the account.

With Marsella, Widgets are offered in three sizes. For maximum placement, we will offer sizes for banner, side-bar, and a main content size. The size of the widget may be changed by the Vendor or Curator at any given time. Keeping the size options customizable reduces friction with content layout and eases integration by reducing unnecessary rounds of approvals.  Further development on Widget template sizes and looks will be planned from feedback we receive pre-launch from our initial partners.

Marsella offers Sales Metrics relevant to the account type. All Sales Metrics are generated from Widget activity. Vendor Accounts and Curator Accounts have specific metrics which vary by subscription.

Marsella's initial release will offer limited versions of the planned Vendor Connect andCurator Connect. At launch, Curators will be able select Vendors to Follow. At this point following enables Vendors to privately share widgets with the Curator and for the Curator to receive notifications of a Vendor’s Publicly Shared Widget. Further development inVendor Connect and Curator Connect will be planned from feedback we receive pre-launch from our initial partners.

Another important component of using Marsella is setting up and maintaining a User AccountVendors and Curators will both have an Account Name and an Account Profile which are accessible in this area. Information relevant to identification, and payment information will be editable in this area. Vendors will also be able to update their location info, logo, and upload attachable product policies for repeated use at Widgetcreation.

Vendors may subscribe to one of three levels of Marsella’s services. Curator accounts are always free, with some a la carte customization options on-offer.

Basic Subscription

We hope to offer a free entry level account. We believe in order to grow a healthy community we need to enable the potential for success. Though we believe the Free group will be by far the most significant source of Vendor membership, we feel that if theVendor finds success they will be interested and able to pay a subscription fee for greater customization and larger inventory storage service.

The Basic Subscription allows for Vendors to upload X inventory items. The Vendor at this subscription level will receive basic Sales Metrics tracked for most recent 10 days. They will also be able to partially customize the look of the Widget by selecting from a limited number of Widget style-presets.

Optimized Subscription

When a Vendor grows out of the Basic Account, or if they desire more customization, they may choose to grow into the first paid subscription level - the Optimized Subscription.

With the Optimized Subscription a Vendor may now upload X inventory items. TheVendor at this subscription level will receive more in depth sales Sales Metrics, tracked indefinitely. This subscription will also include sales recaps of best selling items and best selling widgets. Customization options include full color selection capability for the primary/secondary background, text and “Confirm Purchase” buttons as well as an increased number of template options.

Personalized Subscription

Once Marsella is fully integrated with a Vendor's business flow, or if a luxury client requires a system that can be fully branded, it is time to subscribe to the Personalized Account Type.

The personalized account type offers the Vendor an unlimited inventory size. Both the Vendor and Curator will receive the same sales information as the optimized accounts. Where the Personalized Subscription shines is in widget customization. At this level of subscription the Vendor and Curator are able to fully edit the widget’s layout and colors. They are also able to upgrade individual widgets to a Designer Widget, effectively allowing them to completely rebrand the Widget and remove the Marsella logo for a one time fee per-Widget.

Process & Team

We will design and develop a system focused on audience adaptability. Savages have, for over fifteen years of combined experience, participated in high-end design, production, marketing and sales processes in both physical and digital sectors. Across all of our experiences we have used a focus on the audience members, rather than our sales clients, as the lens for the given project. As a result, we have a solid perspective on the needs of our partners - the vendors and their customers. Our recent experience as marketing strategists has highlighted the importance of a third essential component - influencers. We look forward to utilizing our combined experiences to bridge gaps that currently exist between producers and curators of goods. We serve the end consumer by placing the curator within the eCommerce transactional flow - for the first time, readers of blogs will be able to see the blog be supported by mainline content without wondering what the web publication's stake is.

We mainly work as producers. Our skill is in managing teams of teams, which is the approach we will be using to execute this project. In particular, members of Savages have worked on a number of projects with internationally based groups of creative and production personnel. We will be utilizing this experience to enable development to be as cost-effective as possible.

Until the product launches, Savages will be fully involved in day-to-day  product development and core strategy. Alexandra Hartman will be the Technical Producer, managing the development build. Ted Pallas will be working on Systems Design and communicating work with UNKNOWN, who will be the acting head of the Marsella Customer Development Team. We will be assembling a core team that will lead Marsella once we have a sense of what we can offer financially. Our goal is to keep all core “labor” spending under $725,000 annually.

Positions to be hired internally  -

CTO/VP of Product Engineering - One individual - this individual will be responsible for working with Savages to produce the finished product. Once development is complete this person will have the option to be bought-out and replaced, with someone who’s talents are more in line with sustaining and adding functionality to a product, depending on this individual's stated career goals.

Sales Producer - two to five individuals to start, scaling up as high as possible for launch, minimum of ten - The sales team responsible for both on-boarding new accounts, and managing the needs of existing accounts.

Technical Support - one to two to start, scaling up to five by release - The technical team responsible first for creating documentation, then for handling user support queries. Across the team we intend to cover English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Hindi. As our markets develop we'll scale tech support language allocations accordingly.

Designer-Coder - one to start, growing the team as the process gets defined - This individual will interface with the outsourced development team and Savages, acting as a visual design bridge between the two organizations. This individual will also be assisting with marketing assets.

Marketing Director - One to start, possibly multiple for handling different sectors - This individual will focus the marketing activities of Marsella. Part-time contract position until 16 weeks till Alpha, when the position becomes full-time. Responsibilities are mainly to ensure that marketing spending is as effective as possible.

AccountingOne to start, growing the team as needed - This individual will be in charge of Marsella's accounting and financial-services needs. Early on they'll also be architecting all of the systems by which we move money, being sure to maintain compliance with local jurisdictions we find ourselves operating in. It's going to be a beast of a job, no doubt.

Savages intend to treat Marsella as a global product. We have had the privilege of interfacing with diaspora communities in located within the United States on a deep level. Most start-ups marginalize these communities - that's ridiculous. We see gold in them there hills, because "them there hills" have provided some of our most enthusiastic clients.

Timeline

Conversations with development partner candidates have been initiated. We're hoping to work with Oxagile, a Belorussian development powerhouse with clients that have included Google, the Discovery Channel and Vodaphone. This section will be upgraded as relevant information becomes clearer. In any event, the sooner we're funded the sooner we're able to embark on development.

Thanks 

We appreciate the time spent reading this document. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts please feel free to reach out via the box on the right. We hope you are as excited as we are to revolutionize the relationships customers have with brands. It's going to be a fun ride.

Love,

.tj and alex