Posts Tagged 'software marketing'

New Software Marketing Membership Program

New Software Marketing Membership Program

Get customized software marketing help with our new membership program:  sign up for as little or as much help as you need.  Check it out at the link above.

 

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Some Recent Software Marketing Articles

Here’s a quick summary of a few recent articles and blog posts worth reading, covering topics from influencing the B2B buy cycle, SaaS sales compensation, and what works in online marketing:

Selling B2B software? Even if you sell to the enterprise, the fact is that B2B purchasers gather a lot of their initial research on potential solutions online. That’s why having an internet marketing strategy (inbound marketing) is so key. Take a look at this recent article on ChiefMarketer.com about “Adjusting to the Web-Influenced Buy Cycle.”

If you’re moving to an enterprise SaaS model, then how to update your sales compensation plan might be on your mind. In that case, this recent blog post by Joel York at Chaotic Flow on “SaaS Sales Compensation Made Easy” may come in handy. Just remember that for SaaS you really need to focus on keeping customer acquisition costs (including costly sales comp) as low as possible – only use direct sales force when you really need it.

You can check out this recent survey by Go-to-Market Strategies on what worked & what didn’t in online marketing in 2009, in their report “Online Marketing Trends: What Worked in 2009 and What to Expect in 2010”. They found the best bets were email marketing and optimized websites, followed by social media tools.

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.

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

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.

The Trend Toward Marketing and Selling Software Online

As I’m sure any software marketer knows, more and more of the sales and marketing of software is happening online. Even for high-price enterprise software, much of the initial customer data gathering and lead generation is often done online. I wrote a recent page on Software-Marketing-Advisor with some key tips for selling software online.

In an article published today on MarketingProfs, “The Surprising Evolution of Online Marketing in Software Sales”, Jayson Gehri talks about the trends in software marketing online, and some tools that could be quite useful to software marketers looking to extend or simplify their online marketing efforts.

Selling software online is about two key things: First, clearly communicate the benefits to your customer (in language they understand, not geek-speak or feature lists). Second, allow the prospect to experience the software in as real a way as possible. Jayson’s article gives some useful pointers to making the most effective use of online software demos.

For some additional help with selling software online, take a look at our list of key tips here.

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.

What’s More Important: Marketing Process or Marketing Plan?

7-Step Marketing Strategy Process

7-Step Marketing Strategy Process

Too many leaders of small technology businesses think of marketing as either an afterthought (“Got the product ready… now I have to go market it!”) or a forethought (“Got to put together my marketing plan up front… then I’ll have my plan all ready to go when I launch!”).

The fact is neither approach is optimal. I really think marketing must be an integral part of the product or service development process in order to be as impactful as possible.

There’s just too much focus on putting together a marketing plan (whether before or after product development) as a “thing” that must be created. When in fact what’s needed is a marketing strategy process that is integrated with the product or service development process.

For example, here’s a good, simple summary of the marketing strategy process that could be adopted for any technology venture.

Some things to think about:

  • how does this tie in with your product definition and product development process?
  • where is the tie-in with sales?
  • how can the marketing function be as integrated as possible with the rest of the business?

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