Marketing should never be static – there’s a reason I always emphasize the circular, iterative nature of my 7-step marketing strategy process.
7-Step Marketing Strategy Process
A strong marketing program must always start with a careful analysis of your target customer niche, their problems and pain points, and other solutions in the marketplace. Once you fully understand the customer problem and available competitive solutions, then you can write your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Your USP is the one most important piece of content to drive your marketing.
Many of our clients turn to Software Marketing Advisor to help better craft their USP and marketing messaging. Our Marketing Strategy Review service helps optimize your USP and messaging.
What’s so different about marketing business-to-business (B2B) anyway?
I’ve spent most of my career in marketing of business software and services, so I get asked this question a lot. How is marketing business software different from marketing a consumer app?
There’s actually some significant differences, and if you don’t remember that then you’re not likely to be successful with your marketing.
Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges in selling B2B software rather than consumer:
Selling a Solution — If you’re selling a business app, then you have to sell a solution to a problem, not a piece of software. Ideally, you can tie the use of your software to a solution to one of the top three problems that keeps your target user awake at night. And then market that solution…
More Than One Buyer – the purchase or adoption decision for a business application often involves more than one person. You don’t only have to market to potential users, but you also have to include messaging for other stakeholders, such as group manager, execs, purchasing manager or CFO, etc.
Aligning the Ecosystem – If you’re marketing a solution (see #1), as you should, then sometimes that solution involves more than just your product. For example, when I was working for Intel we had to focus on software marketing with partners in order to convince users to buy a new PC – they don’t buy hardware, they buy software. So figure out which companies sell the other pieces to your solution, and approach then to do joint marketing.
Longer Sales Cycle – for a typical business software purchase, it’s not as easy as having the user visit your website, read your great sales copy, and click to purchase or sign up. Even for a small purchase they may need to get their manager’s approval, or perhaps it needs to be included in the next budget cycle or reviewed with other stakeholders. That all takes time.
Supporting Content Matters – B2B buyers expect to find good-quality marketing content about your software. At the least you should have a professional brochure, some case studies and testimonials, and a product data sheet. You can also write and publish white papers to market to your audience.
So what is the difference between your company’s vision statement and your company’s mission, anyway?
I get asked that question a lot, since being clear about your vision and mission is critical to defining effective marketing strategies.
Basically, your company’s vision is what you want your company to be known for, or to become. It’s long-term, and more of an image of how you want your company to be perceived, rather than a specific goal.
Your mission, on the other hand, is more immediate: why are you in business and what is your company doing right now.
Your vision should direct your long-term goals, and your mission should direct your short-term objectives. And hopefully the two point your business in the same general direction!
A lot of small services businesses struggle with marketing and acquiring new customers. If that sounds like you, then below are a few tips to try out:
– Find local industry events or meetups that you can participate in and network with other professionals in your area of expertise. You may be able to pick up projects and establish a local reputation that way.
– Sign up for speaking opportunities at relevant local events, meetups, and conferences. Your presentation shouldn’t be a sales pitch, but an “expert” presentation that establishes you as the go-to person in your area of focus and then include a brief sales followup to those that are interested in learning more.
– how does your website rank in organic Google search results? Write content for your website that is geared to pulling in traffic from people who are looking for folks like you – identify the long-tail keywords, and write a page for your site for each such keyword (without keyword stuffing or other black-hat stuff).
– Use LinkedIn: participate in relevant LinkedIn groups, connect to the people you already know in your field & that will give you access to other prospects also. Post updates about your company (customer case study or testimonial, info about your services, etc), keeping it “real” not spammy.
– Do you do any email marketing? You should be collecting emails on your website (offer a white paper or other information in return for their email address & use a double-opt-in form). Then have a regular customer newsletter.
– Get written up in some articles in your industry: write a press release on a newsworthy event about your company (eg, a new offering, etc), submit it through a press release site like PRWeb, and then reach out individually to journalists and bloggers in your industry – you can usually find contact information online. Just look for recent articles related to your space then reach out to those same folks. Focus on the respected publications, blogs and sites in your industry.
These are just a few ideas that can be useful for small service businesses. If you’re looking for some more specific ideas for your business, then check out our marketing coaching services at http://www.kazooassociates.com/coaching.php
Currently, the leading platforms for mobile app developers are iPhone and iPad (ie, iOS devices) and Android smartphones and tablets. As a developer of mobile apps, do you choose one platform to focus your app development efforts on, or do you support both? And what about the other mobile platforms such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry?
In making that decision, do you look at which platform has the largest installed base? Or do you go by which platform is currently shipping the largest volume of units? Or what about which platform has the highest overall in-app usage time? The answers vary drastically depending on how you frame the question.
Most of the published data on mobile share focuses on platform market share, which shows a rapid increase of Android compared to iOS. However, an article published by Business Insider in March instead considered the amount of actual time spent online as a proxy for app usage, which paints a very different picture with iOS clearly dominating.
At first glance, this type of data may give a developer of mobile apps pause: Should one be prioritizing an Android version over iOS or vice versa?
With all the talk of platform market share, what many of us forget is that the relevant question is the market share of mobile app usage time. After all, that is what users will ultimately pay the app developer for. Silicon Alley Insider’s chart of the day from March 13 2012 instead tells the real story of Android versus iOS.
The chart from ComScore shows the digital traffic market share of connected devices by OS in the US – it’s a very different story than what’s told by the device platform market share where Android shipments are now dominating. When you look at it by digital traffic – the actual mobile Web usage – the picture changes, with iOS dominating at 60% and Android far behind at only 32%. Similarly, Net Applications finds iOS has a 4.4x larger web share than Android. On top of that, a number of studies have also found that iOS users are much more likely to pay for apps or make in-app purchases. On average, developers make 6x more on iOS apps for the equivalent app.
This data seems to clearly indicate that the first platform of choice for a mobile app should still be iOS.
So if you develop mobile apps, what choices do you make? Please vote in our poll: