Early days – coming up with the idea
Have you ever had one of those moments where you discover that your business can be so much more than the average? That’s what I had in the early days of Engage Marketing back in 2009. I was halfway through studying Entrepreneurship and business development in my home town of Melbourne, Australia and started to explore how business owners were planning their marketing at the time.
Over the next two years Plan Lab came together, bit by bit, but most of my time was spent running Engage Marketing, writing marketing plans for clients and consulting with small business owners on where their marketing wasn’t going to plan. At the start of 2012 I decided that the time was right and so we went about developing Plan Lab.
Michael Halligan – Owner of Engage Marketing and Creator of Plan Lab
Plan Lab is a venture by Australian small business marketing agency Engage Marketing. The idea came back in 2009 when Engage Marketing’s founder Michael Halligan was writing the agency’s own marketing plan.
A student of RMIT University’s famed Entrepreneurship program, Mike was looking at potential revenue streams and how to innovate beyond writing marketing plans and offering marketing advice to small business owners. The idea of developing a piece of marketing plan software that helped a user write a marketing plan (something that most of us hate doing) came to mind and he started to look at what else was out there.
It turned out that the idea had already been thought of, with a large software company selling boxed software to PC users around the world. After purchasing the software himself he decided that Engage Marketing had to make something better.
What we wanted to do well
1. Create an awesome user interface that felt natural
We wanted something that felt natural to use; something that let the marketing advice come to you without having to go searching for it.
Additionally, there’s nothing worse than a program that makes you click button after button just to acknowledge little messages.
2. Future-driven (cloud-based, constantly evolving)
Software in 2012 should utilize the cloud. It should be constantly evolving and easy to update without forcing you to download patches.
3. Friendly to Mac users
With so many small businesses being powered by Macs these days, we wanted Plan Lab to work as easily on your Mac as it does on your PC.