Multimedia Marketing Agency + Interior Design Firm Gain High Levels of Project Visibility with NetSuite
With over 27 years of experience as marketing and branding innovators, Perception Marketing helps enterprise-level clients reinforce their brands, increase sales and enhance customer engagement. Since its start as Impressions On Hold (IOHI) in 1993, the firm has been changing its customer’s “perception” of the power of multimedia client engagement.
Perception Marketing has built unique and powerful solutions that support brand messaging in global locations. Its VideoCast digital signage program was an industry first, and the Atmospheres overhead music system set a new standard. “Today we offer the latest technology to distribute licensed music and video services via tailored campaigns to any customer endpoint required,” said Dana Justus, President, who is currently re-launching her 11-employee company’s own brand to reflect its customers’ current values and requirements.
“We’re looking at our clients holistically and determining what digital components we can contribute and where we can enhance the customer experience for their clients,” said Justus.
In addition to offering Perception’s standard suite of services, the same ownership team partnered with some talented interior designers to form Crossover Consultants. Although from a different perspective, this innovative organization also focuses on enhancing the experience of employees, residents, clients and patients in commercial and residential spaces.
Having a flexible ERP/CRM that can support multiple subsidiaries, each with their own unique requirements, was critical for the Perception/Crossover team.
Filling in the gaps
Up until last year, these organizations were using QuickBooks and Smartsheet to track their many different client projects. Because the two platforms weren’t integrated, they didn’t “talk” to each other. Information was siloed, which often left project team members unaware of what others were doing on specific initiatives.
“That lack of integration was frustrating and even scary at times,” said Justus. “There were visibility gaps because not everyone knew what was going on. Everything from client deliverables, billing and collecting, and paying vendors, could be missed..”
Looking at multiple systems and shuttling data across those solutions required many manual hours. “Everything took at least twice as long as it does now,” said Justus. “Plus, we didn’t always have all of the information we needed to make informed decisions, or to make sure that we were meeting project or client milestones.”
Working from the same playbook
Turning to ERP Success Partners—a company she’d worked with on previous projects—for help, Justus began looking at different software options. She decided to implement the NetSuite cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, which she’d used in the past. From that experience, Justus knew that NetSuite would get all team members on the same platform, accessing the same data and working from the same playbook.
Now, all project managers, sales reps and accounting personnel have real-time data on client projects, payment schedules and other pertinent data. This added visibility has helped Perception Marketing and Crossover Consultants improve cash flow, elevate the level of service to clients, and streamline the project management process.
“We looked at options like Zoho and Salesforce but really couldn’t find anything that would stack up to NetSuite,” Justus recalled. “Everything else was lacking in at least one area, and nothing else could manage the whole gamut of what we needed from the project side to the accounting side.”
Simple and uncluttered
Justus said ERP Success Partners helped her find the NetSuite edition that would provide the biggest bang for their buck in terms of features and functionalities. “We demoed those editions and went through a pros and cons exercise to decide which one would be the best fit for us right now,” said Justus, who adds that ERP Success Partners was aware of the small firm’s budget and worked to stick to it.
That meant using as many of the NetSuite native functionalities as possible, versus having to customize the platform to the company’s needs. “We wanted to do as much with the base model as we could, knowing that eventually we’ll grow and want some customizations made,” said Justus. “For now, we really want to leverage NetSuite right out of the box. ERP Success Partners helped us to analyze that, stay on budget and keep things simple and uncluttered.”
Staying in step with each other
One of the most important tasks that NetSuite has automated for Perception Marketing is the company’s marketing workflows, which can’t proceed until a team member does his or her part. With more employees working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, team members need high levels of visibility over who’s doing what.
“We can’t just pop into someone’s office and ask, ‘Where are you at with X, Y or Z?’” Justus explained. “With NetSuite, we have a new layer of visibility that cuts down on the phone or Zoom calls needed to stay in step with each other.”
Justus also likes being able to log in and refer back to all project-related client correspondence, which is no longer just stored in an associate’s email inbox.
“When we get busy, people sometimes have to pinch hit and jump into the middle of a project. Using NetSuite, they can quickly glance through the correspondence and get up to speed with what’s going on.”