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.
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:
How useful is competitive analysis? As Michele Linn points out in her latest post “Five Key Questions Your B2B Competitive Analysis Should Answer” in her Savvy B2B Marketing blog, sometimes competitive analysis can lead to dead-end marketing strategies that are just copying your competition’s moves. A business version of “keeping up with the Jones’s”.
The best competitive strategy is to try to re-invent or re-define your category so that you are the market leader… a lot of great examples of companies that are out there that have done that.
Copying competitors won’t get you there… but competitive analysis can help you determine the best way to really crystallize your target subsegment that has you as the de facto leader…
So, yes, if you are selling software products or services, do invest some time in software marketing research to better understand your competitors. But instead of trying to follow them, use that information to develop strategies that truly differentiate you within your target segment.
OK, here’s one of my pet peeves: if you have a blog or a twitter account linked from your business website, make sure the posts and tweets are targeted to your customers and what they care about.
Seems obvious, right?
But I see so many small technology and software companies that use their blog to discuss the trials and tribulations of being a startup rather than addressing the customer pain point that they designed their product to solve in the first place.
If you want to write about the experience of running your business, and share best practices with others, then by all means have a separate blog. But don’t think your customers could care less! Even worse, you don’t want them seeing your dirty laundry (why tell them about the firefighting you were doing yesterday to deal with the outage you had…?).
Make sure you have a customer-focused blog on your website, with posts that are of interest to your customer. Try to weave your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) through the blog, while making sure not to appear too salesy. Your blog should contain additional helpful information, tips, and product-related announcements that your customers and prospects will find useful.
What’s the most important factor in product planning and sales/marketing for a technology startup?
In one word: FOCUS…
As a startup, especially in the technology space, it’s too easy to start thinking up all the exciting new usage models using your technology. Before you know it, you’re running three businesses when you should be focused on getting one off the ground.
How to deal with all those cool ideas that come into your head at the most inopportune moments?
Keep a notebook… that way, when you’re ready to grow the business you have some seeds of ideas to use as a starting point. But when you’re just starting out, it’s key to just pick one and FOCUS on it until it’s a paying business.
For marketing messages to be effective, you need to really think about who it is that you are speaking to. Too many marketers only think about a single audience for their message: the end customer. The end customer may be your primary audience, but they are not the only one.
There are a number of other audiences that may need marketing messages crafted specifically for them, including:
Online influencers, such as prominent bloggers in your field, influential websites and analysts,
Sales and marketing partners,
the press and media,
your ecosystem partners, such as complementary software vendors, hardware vendors or system integrators,
other key stakeholders that your end customer looks to for guidance or approval on their buying decision (this is especially important for B2B applications).
Your end customer will be influenced not only by your marketing messages directly targeted at them, but also by these other stakeholders and influencers. The more consistent messages they receive from different channels, the more likely they are to make a positive buying decision in your favor.
Bottom line: when crafting your marketing messages and marketing plan, don’t forget to build target messaging and budget marketing activities for all audiences that are important in influencing your customer’s purchase decision.
It’s December already… a good time to be thinking about your software marketing approach for 2010. Hopefully the economy will be picking up, customers will be looking for options, and you need to make sure your product is top-of-mind when they get into a buying mood.
At Software-Marketing-Advisor.com, we have just released our detailed, professional software marketing plan template package. It gives you all the pieces you need to easily put together a customized marketing strategy and plan for your software product, and we’ve even thrown in free consulting as well. You can check out the Software Marketing Plan package here.
Their first “law” is the Law of Leadership: it’s better to be first than it is to be better, they claim.
They give the example of Charles Lindbergh as the first person to fly the Atlantic solo. Have you ever heard of the second person, Bert Hinkler, even though he was able to fly faster & consumed less fuel? Probably not.
That got me thinking… is that law always true, and are there any exceptions to it? I think it’s a good rule of thumb, but we have to be careful applying it to technology products: There are times in technology marketing when being the first to market is not the best choice (for example, if the technology is not yet mature enough, or the supporting infrastructure isn’t ready for a compelling usage model yet). It has to be a strategic decision, with this as one consideration.
However, thinking about this “law” in terms of how to position your product or service makes a lot of sense: if you’re launching a project management software product it may not be smart to go head-to-head with Microsoft Project as a meets-all-needs basic project planning tool. Better to find a specific market segment where you have enough unique value or unique features to be the “first” to really solve their particular problems. Get traction and success in that subsegment, then you can grow from there.