Behind the Scenes with Template Monster’s CEO David Braun in 2010
Template Monster has really made a name for itself over the past couple of years. Growing into the leading provide for website templates, clearly the company’s CEO David Braun is doing something right. I’ve been a huge fan of Template Monster for years now and have written about their blog earlier this year.
However with 2010 kicking around, I was intrigued to hear about how Template Monster is doing and where they may be heading. I’ve got a great interview with David below, discussing future plans for TM and where the company will be growing into.
How has Template Monster been doing since 2010 has hit? Any new features or business concepts you’ve released recently on the site?
Well, we’re doing pretty good actually, especially in 2010. You know, it always seems like what’s happening now is the most fascinating and exciting period in your career. And then say in 6 months you’ll be thinking that that new period is the new most exciting one. But that’s fine with me, it’s always great to love what you’re doing.
As for the new features – yes, of course we keep working on them, Template Monster always has to remain on top, including the new updates for our audience convenience and new products. That’s a part of our official policy.
In 2010 we’ve launched Virtuemart templates – a great new product that our community really loves. Plus, recently we’ve implemented a number of website functionality updates that also mean a lot in terms of how convenient our website is for the audience.
I’m talking about the shopping cart interface update and the new searching feature enabling to search our database of templates by colors. We’re also planning additional website updates and product launches. So yes, we totally love this constant evolution and will surely keep moving forward.
VideoSmash is a relatively new launch affiliated to Template Monster. How was the site created, and what was the influence behind starting a new marketplace for digital video effects?
The guys that currently run VideoSmash project are our old friends. For a very long time they’ve been producing video effects exclusively for Template Monster purposes, and some time ago they decided to launch a website selling their collection of video effects.
We in turn are happy to help our friends and present their effects as a special offer on our website. But the best thing about this is that our customers like this offer and it’s really relevant to the products we sell. So it’s a win-win situation for all of us – Video Smash, Template Monster and our common design community.
Along with Template Monster’s great lineup, I noticed you’ve launched a new Silverlight category of Microsoft Silverlight templates. How was the concept of working with Microsoft’s Silverlight developed? Is the launch doing well?
Yes, we’ve been planning the partnership with Microsoft for a very long time, after all Microsoft does have a great deal of web products that our audience was always interested in. So when we found out that they were about to launch the Expression Web and Silverlight lines we knew it was time for us to act.
Besides, Silverlight that you’ve mentioned really is a great platform – both as an alternative to Flash and as an independent software – and since Template Monster is always the first to produce designs for the web’s most promising solutions, we started working with Microsoft very closely on this.
And I would like to thank our friends at Microsoft for their awesome approach towards working with their partners, we really enjoyed working with them and will surely keep working on Microsoft-based products in the future.
Do you see turning Template Monster into a subscription-based template service similar to Dream Template, or will you stick with single template prices? Any reason behind your choice for the marketplace’s structure?
No, actually we’re not planning to move to that subscription-based service and will definitely stick with the single template purchase model.
To be honest, first of all this is the way for us to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the players in the market – I’m sure you all know the issues with customer relations that the subscription-based template providers have. I won’t tell any names or the exact problems they have, it’s just that when they deliver a ton of products to you they don’t really care about what you think about these products then – because they’ve basically received everything they wanted from you (that’s called a transaction marketing in marketing theory, when a company only cares about selling something to you once because the product is not good enough for the customer to want to buy it again).
What we’re after is building long-term relations with our customers by providing them with a premium quality product and support services – that’s a relations marketing model in marketing theory.
But other than that, what hurts me personally about this is that once a certain customer is frustrated with one provider he/she will think twice before using some other provider’s services as well, even though that other provider uses a whole different marketing and customer relations approach. So we believe this single template purchase model to be a great way to demonstrate that we’re not like that, and to prove that we take every single transaction seriously.
TM’s blog has also been doing very well recently, do you see a future for growing Template Monster’s blog into a large design blog for more potential revenue?
Yes, I’m very happy to see the way our blog has moved from a corporate communications tool to a really informative resource for all kinds of web designers and developers. The initial idea of design blog has appeared because the Template Monster team has this huge experience and priceless expertise in web design and general web trends. And sharing what we know and have to say is also an exciting way for us to communicate with the community.
We’re very happy that this people love what we have to say and find our thoughts interesting.
As for the revenue – that’s not the primary goal of the blog. I mean, yes, we’re happy that other websites are now interested in advertising on our blog and that the blog content hits Digg’s frontpage on a regular basis, but first of all the blog is a platform that we intend to build the big community around and use it for communicating with our audience. Communication is the key, that’s our official goal.
Where do you see Template Monster growing over the next couple of months? Any new features you have in the works you can share?
As I’ve said, we actually are working on new features and products, I’m sure people familiar with Template Monster know that and do expect some new goodies from us. So that’s the first part of what we plan for the next couple of months.
Another thing I can share right now is that we’ll keep working hard on building even better relations with our audience – that includes social media networks, design blogs, etc. We really do take this direction very seriously, so make sure you all keep an eye on this. There will be tons of interesting things to watch and to take part in.