Well, well... marketing is improving ever so slowly at this company, but I have seen two things that have impressed me so far. The rollout of the SLC8000 was a good one with great videos. They need to just keep following it up with getting it reviewed and getting a marketing promotion with their online retailers.
BUT the biggest marketing move of the year is clearly the tie up with the Torquing Group and the xPico Wi-Fi. The word "drones" will give it a lot of press and already this morning I have seen this news reported by several publications. This is a KEY example of what the xPico can do for companies. And it doesn't end there... the xPico can be used in so many different things. The Torquing Group is also planning to make drones for local law enforcement and military use. Will the xPico be used in those too? Maybe if it uses WiFi. Maybe they will use cellular?
So, whoever is on a roll at this company and making these wise marketing moves, don't stop there, keep it up, week after week. Get with your online re-sellers! Announce more exciting examples of how the xPico is being used! When you roll out new products, do it exactly like you did the SLC8000 except have reviewers ready to go to follow up this news release. Get those positive reviews on websites. Create websites on how these products can be and are being used. Show companies how they can save money and time by using them.
You did a great job with the drones and xPico release. The youtube video where you edited the end to show the xPico being used in the cente rof the device was done really well. Keep it up.
It will cost around $265 I believe. It's a cool toy. Though, it would be great if there is another product that will come out that uses xPico can be sold in much higher volume.
I have shares ranging from 12 a share that I bought many years ago to 1.40 a share. If I were to buy shares now just to sell them later, I would have to sell the $12 shares and take a loss for them. I'm not prepared to take a loss for those shares. I want to see my money return. So, after all these years, I haven't sold my LTRX shares. I have some really old shares.
I'm waiting for them to figure out how to get the word out. This isn't a well-rounded company. Can't move a car very well when only two tires have air in them.
When they look like they are trying to sell product, that is when I will pick up more. Right now, all I see is development. I do not see marketing and sales activity to write home about. It's almost like watching your favorite American football team just run the ball all the time and never win any games. You think--only if they pass the ball sometimes, they could win every game. But they just keep running it with the belief that is all it takes. So when this company passes the ball sometimes, that is when my sentiment changes from hold to buy and maybe even strong buy.
So, this company has done it again. A technology marvel--the SLC 8000. Modular. Can build as you grow. Though the modules aren't cheap. But still, an engineering masterpiece when it comes to I.T. Management. This definitely shows why these guys are good.
But as with their other products, the other half of the company doesn't appear to want to sell it. Yes, the rollout was great, the videos are great (though no more than 144 hits on youtube), they even offer a 30 day trial. The problem once again is getting the word out beyond their inner circle of loyal customers. Are there any reviews for this thing? Any real world usage videos? Any company sponsored sites where there is a step to step demonstration on how this product solves problems? Any 10% off coupon codes? Any incentives to upgrade old equipment with it? Any incentives for sales people to sell them?
So, again, the question is--what problem does this product help solve? You are an I.T. Manager, your infrastructure is already setup, in what way will spending $2-5k help make things better and save the company money? This is the key question. And it is the other half of this company's job to answer this question for the I.T. Managers out there and to get the word out to them. I have been saying this for the last 10+ Years. Deliver the message. Because if you don't, your engineers will have created yet another great product that will sit waiting to be sold in numbers that it can sell if the message was delivered.
So, marketing is given instructions by the top guy at the company, Kurt. And if Kurt is not giving the instructions, then it is the Board of Directors job to instruct Kurt to address this. And if nobody addresses this, then you have an engineering marvel like so many other company products that is kept the best secret in the world. And for a company that should have a main goal to sell to be highly profitable, this is not good. It's not that hard!!!
So they already discounted the net edition but for $72, you can get it thru Monday in their e-store with coupon code. Looks like everything qualifies for the 20% off.
So their 20% off deal is back for black Friday through cyber Monday. It's an annual event. If I remember correctly, EVERYTHING last year was eligible which isn't always the case with some companies.
Here is the thing I have an issue with. If you know about the company, its products, and read the PRs or some site that publishes their PR, you are fortunate if you need one of their products. The problem of course is that you need to know about the company and its products in order to buy these products at 20% off.
I personally own Apple i-devices and also Android based devices so both supporting platform xprintservers would work for me. I am sure tens of millions of people own both as well. So, my question is, not only for the readers of this board, but also for Kurt, Bernhard, and all other Board members---how many people do you know (not including those you told) have heard of the xPrintServer and the print capability it brings to these devices? Because I know a lot of people especially in the I.T. world and I have to say, nobody I know has heard of this product. Nobody. So, if few people they know are aware of it and nobody I know is aware of it, then isn't there something wrong with getting the word out? OK, so, if not many people know this product exists then this should be realized as a problem. OK, so how to solve this problem. AND how to solve in inexpensively, but effectively. IF the management and the Board of Directors cannot figure out how or don't want to solve this problem, then they should not be there. I think everyone would agree with this. The argument here isn't if it is worth or not promoting this product because if they are selling it, it needs to be promoted. So the question here is why it isn't being promoted? There is a dysfunction here. And it really is the responsibility of those running this company to correct this dysfunction.
Why do I keep bringing this up? I wouldn't if they simply fix marketing.
Intelligent people learn from their mistakes and take corrective action to avoid those mistakes in the future. For the third year in a row, this company had an opportunity to sell a lot of xprintserver editions simply by doing Black Friday promotions with their re-sellers and by offering the home edition for let's say $59.99 for this holiday season. Yes, they wouldn't get those high margins they are committed to getting, but volume would have made up for that. So, what will it be this time, another Black Friday through cyber Monday sale on the company's website announced on Monday? Is that the best they can do at this company? A board of directors at a typical company would have realized this to be a problem and take corrective action. Unfortunately, this board does not seem to be very good at marketing or recognize its importance which is why we continue to all wait for revenues to increase while they do not. When is this board going to wake up and see a need for good marketing and sales techniques that are in common practice at successful companies, but not at this company? Is it their desire to torture their investors year after year by not doing anything here? One may call me impatient but this terrible marketing continues for over 10 years when the entire board and management has changed except for one member. So I ask this member of the board, don't you think it is time to get the word out here and start selling some product in high volume? Xprintserver is not one of your main products, but there is an opportunity here to increase sales here and this opportunity continues to be missed. It's time to move product!
I can honestly say that I don't know much about the Raspberry Pi, but I think you are right in your assessment of it. The Wi-Fi plate is probably not best for the hobbyist, but instead better for a different market. It's probably better for the designer that is using the Raspberry Pi that wants to eventually design the xPico into their product. So, this is more of a development product than anything else.
So for 3 years in a row, the company has done absolutely NOTHING to marketing the xPrintServer to consumers during the Holiday season other than their black Friday to Cyber Monday website sale. That's it!!! So why even produce the thing if you don't plan to sell it?
Let's say the critics are right and that very few want the xPrintServer so that is why they aren't trying to market and sell it. AGAIN, I ask why make it if you don't want to sell it?
Do you expect the Directors of the Board to ask Kurt this very question? And for it to be asked a long time ago? And if it was asked, would you expect that the company either A) liquidate and sell off the products and not waste any more resources on it? B) Sell the product to another company that thinks they can make money from it? C) Sell a license to it to another company and have them sell the products? or if they think the product has potential then: D) Put a half decent marketing campaign together for it to try to sell more of them?
In any case, back to what I have been saying. A company on the verge of increasing revenues and being on top of their game will have their product offerings in-order and have marketing getting the word out. This is not going on at this company yet, which means, don't expect nice increases in revenues.
The question I have is WHY isn't it happening ? Because the only conclusion I came come up with is that the Board of Directors (including Kurt himself) think they can sell products without marketing. And this is type of thinking will not move this ship anywhere.
Don't feel bad Kurt. Jerry Chase wasn't able to get over the hump either. All you are saying at this point is that you can do 5 consecutive non-GAAP profitable quarters just like he did, but you can't do better than he did.
We've been here before.
I will tell you when you will get over the hump though... when you have effective low-costing marketing campaigns of your products and when your company does little things like responds to negative reviews on Amazon about your products and re-org your product lineups. When you can accomplish this, you will finally increase revenues significantly at this company.
They will report their financials on October 30th.
1st quarter 2014:
Net revenue of $10.9 million
Gross profit as a percentage of net revenue of 49.5%
GAAP net loss of $(267,000), or ($0.02) per share
Non-GAAP net income of $220,000, or $0.01 per share
4th quarter 2014:
Net revenue of $11.1 million
Gross profit margin of 50.1%
GAAP net loss of $213,000, or $0.01 per share
Non-GAAP net income of $206,000 or $0.01 per share (representing the fourth consecutive quarter of non-GAAP net income)
Based on the following:
lack of marketing of their products other than the SLC8000 which is not available to buy yet
xprintservers seem to need reorganizing
lack of interest in the xprintserver cloud print edition
not much of a push of their SLB
And the xPico variations being released recently
xPort sales declining
A number of their newer products have been out over 2 years and should be gaining traction
My prediction is that revenues will be: $11M.
Gross profit margin will be about 49% (as we were warned in the annual report that margins will decrease over time)
We will not see revenue growth. Because as we all know, in order to have revenue growth, you have to have products people want, and you have to be able to inform the world that the products exist. They may be releasing products people want now, but they still need to work on letting the world know that they exist.
The products keep coming out it seems. They seem to really be focusing on the xPico Wi-Fi. This product can give the company stability moving forward. This product will replace xPort sales, but they have to do even more with it. They have to sell much more than the xPort did in order to grow this company. I like the family of products, but the key is, as it always has been, how well will they be able to market this family of devices?
"Arduino and RaspberryPi are DYI/maker type kits - hobbyists like to build "things" with them - as they do with erector sets. LTRX should come up with some follow-the-instruction type projects that people can build themselves using the Arduino/Pi and LTRX products. create some apps that folks can download, install on their Arduino/Pi and have a functioning "thing" that they built"
That is a good idea. Provide instructions on how to build certain things using it with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Heck, why not make THIS a competition?
It looks like they are pushing forward hard with the xPico WiFi. Take a look at today's PR entitled: "Lantronix Offers Additional Software Features and Choice of Form Factors for Award-Winning xPico WiFi" I'm liking it, but what about revamping the xPrintserver line and also add more xSenso products? Maybe create a cellular product for the xPico? The new SLC8000 and the xPico WiFi related products are a good step in the right direction, but we need to see more and more rollouts like the SLC8000, but also good marketing after the rollouts. Though, I'm more hopeful than I was 2 months ago.
The company continues to create modules to help sell more xPico units. They have come out with the Freescale Tower module, the WiFi Shield for the Arduino, and now the Raspberry WiFi plate. I don't know how many xPico WiFi units they are selling, but it looks like they are positioning themselves to sell a lot of them over the next several months. It seems like a good strategy. BTW, it looks like the company who sells the Arduino which is mainly used for sensor related work, sells about 10k a month of those.
There are over 3 million Raspberry Pi units sold so far. It appears they are selling about 1 million a year and this number is climbing. What makes Lantronix's Wi-Fi plate so great is that there is no competition out there for it. If you want to Wi-Fi the Raspberry Pi, you will have to buy Lantronix's Wi-Fi plate for it.
The Raspberry Pi is basically a Linux computer on a small board that is very inexpensive to buy. This unit could be a big hit because if you want to communicate to a your Raspberry Pi enabled device via your tablet or iPad wirelessly, this is the only way you can do it. What Lantronix may want to consider convincing them to include a version with Lantronix's Wi-Fi plate on it.
I would say this is the second released product I've been impressed by in the last few weeks. The first is SLC 8000. The rollout of this product was done perfectly. I haven't checked to see if there is a discussion group on the Wi-Fi plate on the Raspberry Pi website, but this would be a good place to get one started.
So, the SLC 8000 will allow remote access into a network via various routes. But what about a hybrid of this product and the SpiderDuo for access to any desktop? Or a device like this that gives you access to ONE particular device such as a sign or alarm system or vending machine? The key development is done. They can now develop other products off of this main product.
I don't know how popular the company's SLB is or how popular the SLC 8000 will be, but if the SLC becomes popular, it could be the key to many other sales. If you look at the SLC, it does what it is suppose to do, but you can buy a lot of "extras" for it such as some products that the company has released in the last couple of years. This includes the: PremierWave XC HSPA+ cellular unit, the PremierWave XN Wi-Fi unit, and the 56K v.92 Internal Modem. So, this device can be accessed from pretty much anywhere. Also sold for it is the 16 Device Port RJ45 I/O Module and the Power modules. They have other little things that can be bought for it too like a USB external modem and also cables and adapters. They also offer an extended support and warranty option for it, even though it comes with a 3-year warranty as it is. I wonder if maybe they should have just made it a 1-year warranty and sold the extended warranties instead in order to have a supplemental income to this device? The cost of these units range anywhere from $1,530 to $4,480.
So, this is a good product offering and now the key will be to reach the potential customers out there that need such a device. In order to do that, their target will most likely need to be I.T. professionals that do this type of work for the end-consumers in addition to the I.T. departments of companies and non-profits.
This is the first major product announced for awhile and I think it is a good one. But as I have said in the past, having good products is not good enough. It is reaching and convincing potential customers that they need to buy the products.
So what is next in product offerings? Can they do something with their other products that they are doing with the SLC 8000?
This is how every single Lantronix product should be rolled-out. They have on their site: Order Now (on top--great) which will be available within 1 MONTH of its release (not months later). Next is the Free 30 Day Trial. Excellent thing to offer. You know they will like it if they try it. A Virtual Demo! So, you can test all the features before buying it... another great move! Product Briefs... an Introductory Video AND Key Features Video (done very well!), and lastly a very detailed I.T. management product brochure.
Also, this product was designed well. You can add modules to it when and if needed, which will increase the revenue streams. You can add a modem, WiFi, Cellular capabilities. THIS IS THE BIG PRODUCT THAT WE WERE WAITING FOR!
Alright, I'm getting enthused here. We are seeing a little excitement at this company now. Now if we can see something done with a few of their other product offerings like they did with this one, we will see good things ahead!
If they can get the word out about this product now, then marketing at this company will finally have impressed me.
Alright, I like everything about this product and its marketing rollout so far. It even has an introductory video that explains what it does. I have to do some digging into it to see if I think it will be a hit or not, but so far, I like it.