Archive for the 'technology marketing' Category



Keeping Your Focus…

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.

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Who is the Audience for your Marketing Messages?

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.

marketing message audienceThere 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,
  • Distribution channels,
  • 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.

Get Your Software Marketing Plan in Order

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.

How Important is it to be First?

first, winner, first to market, trophyI’ve started re-reading a useful little marketing strategy book I own: “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

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.

How to Make Sense of Web Analytics

web analytics, marketing data, charts
If you’re wondering how to make more effective use of web analytics data (aren’t we all?), then this upcoming free webinar looks like it could be a useful one to check out.

Avinash Kaushik is presenting on “Actionable Web Analytics: Five Tips for Insightful Analysis”. In today’s tough economic climate it is not the lack of data on the web that is a problem, it is our ability to make sense of it all that is the challenge. In this deeply practical webinar Avinash shares his favorite tips for taking reams of data from your website and finding the nuggets of actionable insights in it. Bounce rates, segmentation, pan-session behavior analysis, key non-ecommerce success metrics and more strategies will be covered. You’ll walk away knowing how to improve marketing efficiency, drive insights into consumer behavior, and generate greater returns on your online investments.

Avinash Kaushik is the Analytics Evangelist for Google, and has published a couple of books on web analytics. It looks to be a worthwhile webinar, so check it out.

Bringing a Service Approach to Technology Marketing

On ebizQ, Phil Wainewright’s interview with the CEO of HelpStream, Bob Warfield, focuses on Social CRM and bringing a services ethos to sales and marketing.

With the rapid growth of social media, interacting with your end users and delivering customer-focused services are fundamental to technology marketing today. That’s true whether you deliver an end-to-end solution directly to end users, or are an ingredient technology supplier. Marketing must take a services approach…. in fact, that service ethose must permeate throughout the business.

I highly recommend listening to Phil’s podcasts to learn more.

Why Having a Marketing Strategy Can Save You Money

When it comes to planning your marketing activities, do you take a strategic or a tactical approach?

Or in other words… Do you have a plan for how your marketing will really impact your customer purchase decisions? Or do you just “shoot from the hip” in your marketing decisions?

Too many companies fall into the second category, especially technology focused firms (to whom marketing may not be second nature).

It may seem like a waste of time to sit down and plan out your software marketing strategy, but the fact is that doing so will make your marketing signficantly more impactful and will save a lot in your marketing budget in the long run.

Trade shows are just one excellent example… they’re very expensive, but many tech companies continue with that large expense in their marketing budget just because “we always have” and “our competitors have a booth there.” Neither of those are good reasons, unless you’ve really done the strategic analysis of how your presence at the tradeshow can influence your customer purchase decisions in your favor.

Ask yourself whether the tradeshow is an important part of your software marketing plan. Maybe it is better to pass on the booth, and focus instead on networking and customer meetings during the show? If you don’t have a strategy, you will never know which is the better choice for your business…

Make your marketing work for you, by regularly updating your business plan and marketing strategy, and using that to prioritize your marketing activities. You can get a head start by using our templates for business and marketing planning for both traditional software companies and SaaS providers.

Interview with David Taber, Author of Salesforce.com Secrets of Success

This interview with David Taber, Author of “Salesforce.com Secrets of Success” on the Marketo blog is a worthwhile read for any software marketer, especially those in the CRM space or those who wish to more effectively utilize their own CRM systems.

Key takeaways? They may not be new, but they’re important enough to deserve repeating:

  • Focus on lead quality, not lead quantity
  • Have a clear process to drive the sales cycle, and make sure everyone from marketing to sales understands their role in the process
  • Figure out and track meaningful, quantifiable measures of marketing success

What are the Best Digital Marketing Activities for Software Companies?

marketing-onlineThe Question of the Week over at Software-Marketing-Advisor.com is about identifying the best digital marketing activities that could be adopted for software enterprises.

It’s a good question, even though a very general one, because there are many web software marketing options available for software companies, and most are very affordable choices especially for smaller software firms and those that sell primarily online.

I also find that many software companies just don’t make the most of their web software marketing efforts. The most important thing to remember is that having a website is no guarantee that your target customers will find you… it is too easy to get lost as just one of the hundreds of millions of sites out there. Your website needs a marketing plan, just as any brick-and-mortar business does too.

First, think about your target customer. Where do they go online to find information about the problem your software product or service is addressing? That is where your digital marketing efforts should focus:

  • the search engines (Google is by far the most important),
  • relevant online forums and blogs,
  • relevant directories,
  • industry websites, etc.

So, getting your website visible in those places is your goal. Make a list of the most important sites where you would like your website to be highlighted.

In general, these are my main recommended areas to focus on for internet marketing of software products and solutions:

  1. SEO – make sure you’re following proper use of keywords, meta tags, and building inbound links to your website.
  2. Blog – you should have a blog on your website that is updated regularly, and participate in other blog discussions and comments.
  3. Participate in forums & discussion groups, including links to your website where appropriate (don’t spam!)
  4. Write articles and publish white papers online
  5. Issue online press releases
  6. Advertising: PPC or online classified advertising relevant to your niche.
  7. Webinars and virtual trade shows
  8. Get listed in directories – both general ones, and online software directories relevant to your niche
  9. Newsletter & email marketing (always opt-in)

You can find more detail in this article on building your web software marketing plan.

Using Email Marketing the Right Way

I read a good email marketing article this week on Marketing Profs: Boosting Email Subscriber Satisfaction. Communicating regularly with your email list can be a real booster of revenue… but only if you avoid being seen as spam, and add value to your prospects and customers.

This article has some really good tips on how to create custom subscriber experiences and increase subscriber satisfaction in your email marketing, including:

  • Communicate regularly… but not too frequently. How frequently will depend on how often your typical customers make purchases.
  • Use custom welcome messages and emails at various points in a given customer’s purchase cycle, to bring them back for more.
  • Use customer satisfaction surveys and other post-purchase communications to keep your product or service foremost in the customer’s mind, and show that you are a customer-focused organization.

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