Strategic Message Planner

I researched and compiled this document as an assignment for the Message Development course at KU. Hootsuite Business is a real product; however, I am unaffiliated with the company.

Hootsuite’s Plan “Business: for small businesses”

Advertising goal
Inform small business owners about the benefits of Hootsuite Business

Client: Key Facts

  1. Invoke Media, a Vancouver-based digital agency, released Hootsuite, originally called BrightKit, in 2008 as a dashboard to manage multiple twitter accounts.¹
  2. Ryan Holmes, Invoke Media co-founder and Hootsuite C.E.O, dropped out of college, taught himself to code and launched Invoke Media in 2000.²
  3. After a White House endorsement in 2010, Hootsuite added Facebook and Linkedin integrations, becoming a full social media dashboard.¹
  4. Hootsuite now sells plans for businesses to manage their multiple Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.
  5. Hootsuite provides free educational materials in social management via its blog, podcast, and webinars.⁴
  6. Hootsuite has users in over 175 countries.⁴
  7. Hootsuite is headquartered in Vancouver and British Columbia with 847 employees.¹³
  8. The company now has more than 16 million users, including more than 80 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies, and it is valued at more than $1 billion.²
  9. The Forrester Wave named Hootsuite a top 10 leader in social media management solutions in its 2017 report.³

Product: Key Features
What is the product?

  1. Hootsuite’s business plan is an online dashboard that allows users to manage multiple social media profiles in one place.
  2. The dashboard allows for 5-10 users who, depending on their assigned role, can manage posts and approve content.
  3. Under Hootsuite’s business plan, users can control up to 50 profiles.
  4. The business plan offers platform and social media marketing certifications for employees.
  5. Hootsuite’s business plan starts at $499 per month, billed annually.⁴

What is the purpose of the product?

  1. The purpose of Hootsuite’s business plan is to assist small businesses in effective social media management.
  2. The dashboard allows managers to lead their social media team by giving assignments and approving posts before they are published.⁴

What is the product made of?

  1. Hootsuite’s dashboard features automatic and bulk content scheduling up to 350 posts at once.
  2. The business plan uses custom branded URLs to track clicks and traffic sources.
  3. The business plan provides detailed custom analytic data exports.
  4. Hootsuite’s Customer Success team is available 24/7 for product support and performs quarterly check-ins.⁴

Who and what made the product?

  1. Computer programmer and internet entrepreneur Ryan Holmes created the Hootsuite dashboard after noticing his client’s at Invoke Media were struggling to “leverage new platforms like Facebook and Twitter for professional purposes.”²
  2. Creator Ryan Holmes owned and ran a small pizza shop after dropping out of college. “I was a one-man show. It wasn’t glamorous work — days were always long — but I was happy,” said Holmes.²
  3. Users begin their plan by customizing their dashboard during a 1-on-1 training session with the Customer Success team.
  4. Hootsuite’s business plan has the capabilities to integrate 150+ free, paid, and premium marketing tools businesses may already be using.

Target Audience


The target audience for this ad is U.S. business owners aged 45-60 with fewer than 500 employees. These small businesses owners have an average income of $71,690 and their companies make up 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses. They are located across the country with 40.3 percent residing on the east coast.⁵ A majority of entrepreneurs are white (80.2 percent) and male (64.5 percent). Minorities own half as many businesses as non-minorities and their businesses start smaller and stay smaller mostly due to capital challenges. Women are also half as likely as men to own employer businesses.¹⁴ Small-business owners have a 21 percent higher income than the general population. Owners with finance, insurance or real estate are the most successful, making $80,500 on average. This is an attractive audience for Hootsuite’s product as they are 30 percent more interested in being online than the general U.S. population.⁵


Small business owners can be described in four distinct categories: passionate creators, freedom seekers, legacy builders, and struggling survivors. Legacy builders are the largest group, but only marginally (28 percent).⁶

Passionate Creator
Pam, aged 53, started her professional photography business in 2007. It has been a dream of hers for as long as she can remember. She believes her passion for the art sets her apart from her competitors and thinks of herself as an “entrepreneur.” Pam’s business is incredibly successful and is expected to grow in the coming year. She also regularly donates funds or services to a local animal shelter. She has 7 employees whom she works in her downtown office. Pam’s marketing strategy is diversified and she spends $500+ a month on marketing activities. She has grown an active following on social media. Pam loves what she does and will continue to follow her passion to future success.

Freedom Seeker
Wade, aged 50, started his custom home building business in 2010 after years of working in construction. Wade grew tired of following his boss’ schedule and desired control of his work life. He is so happy to be living the life he’s always wanted, with the freedom to travel and spend time with his family. Wade works from his home and doesn’t ever see himself going back into a corporate environment. When it comes to his business, Wade likes things to be simple and manageable. He’s the business’ only employee, solely working with subcontractors. To free up his time, Wade uses automated services, like membership site management tools. He always wants to be organized. Wade loves the control he now has over his work environment, lifestyle, and success.

Legacy Builder
Robert, aged 56, opened a gym in 2014 to offer a more personal and innovative experience than a big-name franchise. He believes small businesses are vital to the American economy and hopes his business will provide stability for his family’s future. Robert is incredibly focused on his business and rarely leaves himself time to relax. He struggles with figuring out what software and tools can improve his business. Robert often seeks input from his son, Brandon, whom he hopes he can someday hand the business to. Currently, the business doesn’t have a website or use much marketing; however, under advisement from Brandon, they have recently created multiple social media accounts. Robert loves the pride that comes with owning a successful business.

Struggling Survivor
Amy, aged 49, opened a smoothie shoppe in 2015 after noticing a trend in health-conscious consumers. She had been making delicious, healthy smoothies for years for her children. She didn’t know a lot about running a business, but figured it’d allow her to earn a little money for her children’s college funds. Amy enjoys running the shoppe, but isn’t confident it will last long. She’s considered closing a few times. She runs her business alone– her family is too busy to help– and only has a handful of employees to work in the store. Amy ends up performing all sorts of roles to keep her business alive.  While Amy is always uncertain of her abilities, she loves working towards her dream of independence and security.

Product Benefits

  1. Hootsuite Business features automatic and bulk content scheduling up to 350 posts ahead of time: You can prepare content when you have the time. While you’re busy, Hootsuite Business will keep your social media presence fresh and updated.
  2. Hootsuite Business allows users to manage multiple social media accounts on multiple platforms: You can see and manage everything in one place. You don’t have to sign in and out of accounts, increasing control and saving time.
  3. A Hootsuite Business account can have up to 10 users with assigned roles: You or your team can approve employee-written posts in order to ensure all published content is appropriate.
  4. Hootsuite Business provides custom analytic data exports: You can evaluate which content is most engaging and make improvements to better reach your target audience.
  5. Hootsuite Business comes with 24/7 access to the Customer Success team: There is a real person ready to help you in your time of need.
  6. Hootsuite Business provides training towards social media marketing certifications: You or your team can learn how to create and use effective social media strategy.

Direct Competitors and Brand Images
Direct competitors are social media management solution providers.³

  1. Percolate’s social media management tool
    1. Percolate is a content-marketing platform that offers solutions to enterprises working to understand marketing impact. Its’ social media management tool connects social media content to other marketing efforts to execute a cohesive marketing strategy. Companies can overlay their social analytics with operational data to provide insights into social and content marketing initiatives. Price quotes are available upon request.⁷
    2. Target audience members are impressed, but intimidated by Percolate’s big-name clients like Mastercard. Its services are designed for large corporations with large marketing teams.
    3. The target audience views this tool as sophisticated, but too complex for small businesses.
  2. Sprout Social
    1. Sprout Social makes social media management, advocacy and analytics software for enterprises. Its platform involves several social media outlets, an organized content calendar, and post-level stats on clicks, reach, and impressions. Sprout Social’s plans range from $99-249 per user per month.⁸
    2. Target audience members find the platform limited with only a handful of third-party integration options and basic analytical data.¹²
    3. The target audience believes this platform offers helpful solutions for small business. However, they wish there were more options to connect with other tools and more advanced data to improve engagement.
  3. Sprinklr Social Cloud
    1. Sprinklr is a unified customer experience management platform for enterprises. It’s social media management tool, Social Cloud, unifies publishing, engaging and reporting across 25 social media outlets. Team members can collaborate with shared calendars and stay updated on key trends and conversations affecting the brand and industry. Price quotes are available upon request⁹
    2. Target audience members who have used the product note the platform’s immense amount of capabilities, but had difficulty learning how to successfully use them.¹⁰
    3. The target audience might prefer this product if it offered timely customer support when technical issues arise.

Indirect Competitors and Brand Images

  1. Publishing directly to the social media platforms
    1. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide basic analytics. Facebook allows scheduling and assigned administrative roles to different users.
    2. The target audience found this method too time-consuming when managing multiple accounts. Except for Facebook, login information had to be directly shared with team members and there was no pre-approval process.
    3. The target audience believe this option is simple in the beginning, but quickly becomes complicated as their companies grow.
  1. An inactive presence on social media
    1. Businesses can create a static page, normally with Facebook, that displays basic information, such as hours and contact information.
    2. The target audience using this option fear a negative review on their page could drastically damage their reputation as there is no other content to counteract the message.
    3. Target audience members want to avoid this option if they can as social media content is free marketing.
  1. No presence on social media
    1. Target audience members that began without a social media presence struggled generating organic growth through word of mouth.
    2. The target audience thinks this is a lazy and stupid option in today’s world.

Product Brand Image

  1. Current brand image: The target audience believes that Hootsuite Business is a great, complex tool not necessary in small business management.
  2. Desired brand image: Hootsuite Business provides organization, management, and analytic tools vital to any business’ success. In one place, it’s product is so simple anyone could use it.
  3. Brand image challenge: The target audience isn’t aware of the product benefits and ease of use.

Strategic Message: The Promise
Hootsuite Business puts together all the tools you need to easily create an active, engaging, and profitable social media presence.

Supporting Evidence: The Proof

  1. A Hootsuite Business dashboard can control up to 50 Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube profiles in one place.
  2. Hootsuite Business allows for up to 10 users with assigned roles, such as content approval.
  3. Hootsuite Business provides platform and social media marketing certifications for users.
  4. Hootsuite Business has integration capabilities for 150+ free, paid and premium marketing tools.
  5. Hootsuite Businesses use of custom branded URLs provides regular detailed analytic data reports.
  6. Hootsuite’s Customer Success team provides 1-on-1 support in dashboard customization, quarterly check-ins and 24/7 product support.


³Forrester Report
Sprout Social

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