Posts Tagged 'marketing strategy'

What’s the Difference between Your Company Vision and Mission?

So what is the difference between your company’s vision statement and your company’s mission, anyway?

Mission-Vision

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!

Advertisements

Best Marketing Software Strategy for Software Firms

For small/medium software companies, what are the best marketing strategies? Of course, that does depend on your market segment.. but there are still some key strategies that make sense for almost all software or services firms:

  1. Focus on Inbound Marketing Online
  2. Let Prospects Experience Your Software
  3. Cultivate Existing Customers
  4. Establish a Partner Ecosystem
  5. Maintain a Customer Conversation
  6. Develop a Channel Program
  7. Offer Complementary Services or Products
  8. Segment Your Market
  9. Differentiate with Niche Marketing
  10. Leverage Customer Case Studies

For more, read our latest article on Software Marketing Advisor: “Marketing Software Strategy for Software Product Companies”

Using Competitive Analysis to Lead Your Target Subsegment

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.

Using a SWOT Analysis to Fine-Tune Your Marketing

SWOT AnalysisA SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is an effective way to make sure your marketing activities align with your business strategy.

Why is that a good thing?

It means that the money you spend on marketing is more likely to produce the business results you’re looking for (more customers, larger market share, increased revenue… whatever your particular objective is).

When you do a SWOT analysis, you brainstorm and list out your company’s

  • Strengths (what are the positive attributes of your company, product or service?),
  • Weaknesses (what are the negative attributes of your company, product or service?),
  • Opportunities (where are the market opportunities for your product or service?),
  • Threats (what are the main threats to your company?).

The SWOT analysis can help you find a way to use your company or product strengths to take advantage of market opportunities, and identify and work on weaknesses that might inhibit your ability to take advantage of those opportunities.

To be successful, it’s important to always be on the alert for market threats. Leverage your strengths to either eliminate or reduce the impact of threats, and work to address any weaknesses that may increase the criticality of threats.

Finally, prioritize marketing activities and messaging that highlight your strengths, and help you take advantage of opportunities.

For more on doing a SWOT analysis, take a look at this article: “Doing a SWOT Analysis to Focus Your Marketing Strategy.”

SWOT analysis is also included as part of our Software Company Business Plan Package and the SaaS Business Planning Package.

Software Business Case Study: eMASON

I just read the case study on ISV eMASON on SoftwareCEO this week. It’s an interesting example of a software company that managed to triple their business in 2009, despite the slow economy and turmoil in their target market of financial services.

How did they do it?

Basically, with a singular focus on quality and solving the customer pain point to the best ability, flexibility and easy customization, being really clear on their unique value, and making it as comprehensive as possible within the bounds of the single point of pain the application is solving.

I think we could all learn from these tips… bottom line:

  • understand your customer and feel their pain
  • know your unique value – what really distinguishes your solution from the competition
  • be fanatically customer-focused

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.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements