Greg Gore is Vice President of Praxis International, Inc.
Technical Training, Consulting, and Publishing since 1988



Local Company Hones Internet Marketing Strategy
Greg Gore


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For 2 ½ years, we have been following MaraStar Communications,, a high-tech Internet start-up company based in Paoli. MaraStar has survived despite the bursting of the Internet bubble and the lingering recession that followed the 9/11 tragedy. One year ago, we reported that Marysue Lucci and Ray Hansell, the founders of MaraStar, were adapting to the challenging business environment by restructuring and resizing MaraStar to the business climate and to the available funding base.

Over the past year, Lucci and Hansell completed the revamping and repositioning of their sophisticated and innovative animated training and communications programs. “Now that we have completed work on the technology that supports our products, we have shifted our focus from product development to marketing and sales strategies,” says Hansell. “We continue to survey our customers. We find that our customers are overwhelmingly positive about the value of MaraStar products in enhancing employee communications and in increasing the effectiveness of employee training programs. One of our success principles from the outset has been that ‘your idea must have intrinsic worth and provide value-added services,’ and the many satisfied customers of MaraStar is a testimony to our staying true to our core values.”

To drive traffic to, Hansell and Lucci leveraged their direct marketing experience coupled with outside Internet experts to explore ways to increase traffic to the company web site. “Of course,” says Lucci, “getting ‘hits’ on your web site is just the first step. Your site must be user-friendly to interest potential customers and it must have features to entice them to want more information and to ultimately place an order.”

“We are implementing ways to increase our rankings when a potential customer uses a search engine to find products to meet a particular communications or training need,” continues Lucci. “It is critical to be on the first one or two pages of a search engine’s matches. For example, we offer animated cartoons for use in customer service training. Entering the phrase ‘customer service training’ in a major search engine can produce millions of results. Being listed among the top results is a very real challenge.”

Once a potential customer visits the MaraStar web site, they need to be able to quickly and easily understand how MaraStar’s animated training and communications cartoons would work for their particular situation. From the MaraStar home page, potential customers can take an interface tour, which demonstrates how the animations work, the benefits of using MaraStar’s product, and pricing information. Moreover, MaraStar has a “Make It Real” section under the “Uses” tab on its website where potential customers can see examples of the animated cartoons “in action” at various companies.

During their visit to, prospective customers are invited to receive a free sample. As they register for a free sample, the contact information is then directed to MaraStar’s inside sales consultants for follow-up.

MaraStar is now in the process of rebuilding its sales staff. “We retooled our sales training program from a product focus to an emphasis on a complete and comprehensive understanding of and proficiency in the total sales process,” says Hansell. “MaraStar’s inside sales consultants do not use a ‘canned’ sales approach. Instead, they become adept in using a consultative sales approach to match customer needs to MaraStar products.”

“Moreover,” adds Hansell, “in selling MaraStar’s animated cartoons, MaraStar’s inside sales consultants use MaraStar’s animated cartoons as sales tools. This reinforces the value of MaraStar’s animated cartoons to potential customers. For example, inside sales consultants use animated cartoons to confirm telephone appointments with potential customers, to thank potential customers for their time in speaking with them, and to follow-up with a next step.”

MaraStar’s rapidly growing client list proves that it is still possible for a start-up Internet company to overcome the challenges presented in today’s economic and political climate.


The Greg Gore Web Site on Computers and the Internet (

This column was published in the Daily Local News, West Chester, PA on May 21, 2003. Greg Gore can be reached at

© 2009 by Greg Gore. All rights reserved.