Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Holistic Marketing of Software Products: The New Paradigm

IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
Holistic Marketing of Software Products: The New Paradigm
Dr. Ashutosh Nigam
Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies,
 Vaish College of Engineering, Rohtak (India)
A clever person once said, "Visions demand a strategy, strategy requires a plan." This is what is often overlooked or
sidestepped by too many people involved in the software marketing process today.
The software product firms needs to be competent in offering
services with ever changing demands of the dynamic  marketing
environment. To overcome these barriers, the firms should deploy
holistic marketing strategies based on the established niche markets
for specialized software products. Holistic marketing embraces all
aspects of software firm’s products and customized solutions. The
concept stresses on the interrelationship with the  stakeholders to
achieve distinction with core focus towards the customer
Keywords: Relationship Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Product
Development, Holistic Marketing Framework.
There is need to cop with the changing marketing plans and
flexibility of software products holistic marketing can be
deployed by firms to compete in global market place. To
remain competitive, companies not only need to maintain the
skills that work in the old economy, they also have to acquire
new mindsets and competencies. Marketing of software
products is different from the traditional product  due to
uniqueness inherent in the product. The marketing mix of the
software product is very flexible, as it is neither a pure
service nor a pure product. The marketing of the software
product had to be dealt sensitively otherwise the firms would
loose its brand equity in the market. One typical advantage
that is enjoyed by the software product firms is having high
bonding long term relationship with the clients by the way of
sale contracts, training, maintenance and product updates
which is does not exist in the tangible product. In the light of
the problem holistic marketing can provide solution that is
inherent in software products.  
Holistic marketing concept is based on the development of
design and implementation of the integrated marketing
programs and processes for software products in
synchronized manner so that the software products can be
marketed efficiently. Holistic marketing simply means whole
marketing process ie everything from initial product
development to post sales support of software products.
Implementation of holistic marketing would ascertain higher
customer satisfaction, increasing profits, expanding revenue
base, lowering of product cost and increasing the reliability
of software products Vrat, Sardana and Sahay (1998).
Holistic marketing stresses on stakeholder relationship in the
delivery of long-term economic, social, and environmental
value to customer, employee, supplier, community, and
shareholder of a business in order to enhance sustainable
financial performance.  The thrust of "Holistic Marketing
Moves" is that customers' needs must be satisfied in the most
convenient way so that they don't have to waste time or
energy searching, looking for or ordering the new software
product. For this reason, businesses need to shift  their
strategy from focusing on product portfolios to focusing on
customer portfolios. Holistic marketing approach takes how
different mediums will interact as well as build upon each
other. Instead of multiple planners and groups (i.e. Media,
Out-of-Home, Print, etc.) working independently for the
same campaign, a single group will evaluate all mediums in
order to determine the highest return on investment. Holistic
marketing requires strong software support in business
processes to serve the clients in the efficient way. The
software product firms should incorporate following while
deriving tactics for the holistic marketing
The Target Customers’ activities, lifestyle,
and social space.
The company’s marketing channels.
The company’s communications.
The company’s stakeholders’ interests.
Holistic marketing focuses on high degree of correlation and
interrelationship with firms marketing plan, customer service
and Internet advertising with core customer orientation
shown in figure1.
Holistic Marketing has evolved from the basic marketing
principles of business each action by a company should
contribute to the business goals. In holistic marketing
activities involved for development, distribution and
marketing to the end user is considered not as an isolated
entity but as a synergic member of the firms in totality.
Holistic Marketing in Software Product Prospective IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
Figure 1
Last viewed on May17, 2007
It considers not only the single campaign or medium but
considers multiple media in totality. It helps to attract the
target audience or prospective niche customers for software
products. Amazon is one example of adopting holistic
marketing strategies, as an internet-based store Amazon not
only have the luxury of foot-traffic of a traditional brick-andmortar store but also focuses on being creative and
resourceful to develop customer loyalty and exposure to their
target audience. By melding the traditional concept of direct
mail with personalization by providing e-newsletters and
personal recommendations notices send via email. This is
taken a step further by mailing personalized promotions and
referencing the email notice. Amazon is also using traditional
direct mail catalogs and referencing them on their  site in
order to get retuning as well as new customers. This strategy
plans marketing campaigns that use multiple mediums (i.e.
Internet, TV, direct mail, etc.) with similar messages. The
idea is for the target audience to see a consistent message
through a multiple of vehicles. Direct mail promotions and
catalogs are not new concepts, but integrating messaging and
referencing each medium enables Amazon to maximize their
returns and develop one to one personal relationship with
their customers.
Holistic Marketing: Software Products
The touch-points for the development and implementation
for any holistic marketing campaign of software products
include the following
Figure 2
Touch Points of Holistic Marketing Campaign
Source http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article.aspx?c=11&l=196&ai=4037.
Last viewed on May12, 2007
(a)  Marketing
The process of holistic marketing campaign for software
should start from the marketing department rather than from
software product development division. Software product
should sense the live, breathe, eat, and smell the company's
brand. The firms should able to able know the target
customers on the degree of customization in the target clients
on one to one relationship basis and able to change as per
changing client needs directly, through focus groups, desktop
research, e-mail campaigns etc. The firms should able to
position its products with the clients. Doing this  would set
right road for getting message heard above the plethora of
communication that takes place in busy marketplace.
(b)  Agencies
Agencies are the companies that bring holistic marketing
strategies. It includes advertising, public relations, online
agencies etc.  The creative approach should be followed by
the agencies so that effective interaction with target
customers can be made and software product can be
developed effectively. The creative interpretation  of a
marketing strategy and a campaign should be included in the
blue print of the marketing strategy in totality. The software IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
firms should do good market research on the effectiveness of
the median campaigning of the software products. Once the
marketing strategy is done based on research, it becomes
easier for firms to track out deviations or activities
implemented that were detrimental to the success of the
marketing project.
(c) Sales
The sales human capital makes close interaction with the
client for the selling of software products. The sales force
can see the real nuances and feel in changing client’s
sentiment. These changes need felt by the sales team should
be updated by way of knowledge sharing by different
departments of the company on regular basis. Call center can
be used for effective interaction and feedback recorded can
be considered in development of the software products. This
will quickly become a measurement to see if a specific
campaign is working or not. The sales front should  be
suitable trained for designing marketing strategy in totality.
(d)  Finance
Finances are the key and life blood of any organization. It
has to be dealt sensitively otherwise synchronization of
different marketing activities and   relationships among
different business processes would be severely hampered.
(e) Operations
Once the sale is made, the software product must be
installed, delivered, etc. to the clients If this is not done
timely, effectively and efficiently, it would start as a good
experience for the client will be open to interact  with new
product and existing updates of the software products.
 (f)  Product Development
This needs to be a thorough process, developed for a defined
audience with a defined need and then test. A marketer can
have the most brilliant strategy and the hottest campaign, but
if that product or service doesn't deliver, it will mean zero        
(g) Customer Services
Marketing department makes sure that new clients become
valued, long-term clients. That clients' stay with the company
by maintaining services levels and delivering on expectations
is key for getting the business.
In short, no one area can be isolated or seen as being more
important than another. Marketing needs to be owned, by the
whole company and agencies. The details of the overall
holistic marketing strategies can be generated by
brainstorming sessions to generative new innovative ideas.
How to Create Holistic Marketing Framework
for Software Products:
1. First the business profile of client’s firm should  be
considered which includes things such as firm’s current
image with in  industry, what position do firm hold in
customers' minds, what is the business style of the firm
, and so on.
2. It is to considered need to understand the customers
why clients are interested in the software products, with
whom firm been successful and why.
3. Next there is need a clear picture of  internal business
processes of the client’s firm and how its impact both
customers and prospects of software firm. It would help
in getting feedback why customers you don't want to do
business with the firm.
4. Once a clear picture of business and customers, then a
plan is needed that will guide toward the vision
imagined by the software product firm to accomplish
both short- and long-term goals.
5.   And, given all that, there is need for the right messages
aimed at the right people to implement the marketing
Components of Holistic marketing  
Implementation of holistic marketing in software products
processes considers four components Kotler and Keller
(2006), which the traditional marketing has not given the due
1. Relationship Marketing
Developing long lasting relationships is key for the
success of the software business as continuously the
interaction of software product developer and customer is
involved.. Relationship marketing brings right mix  of
customer service, software product quality and marketing.
This directly influences the stakeholders of the software
firms. Relationship marketing helps to develop right kind
of relationship with software vendor with the clients. The
software firms should focus on the customers but should
try to establish partnership relationship with the
stakeholders. It helps to develop marketing network of the
firms, which in long run help to optimize the cost  of
advertising and promotion of new software products  and
services and maximize the profit of the software firms.
The effectiveness of the marketing of software products
can be enhanced by deployment of effective IT Systems
with high degree of customization of software products
and services as per individual client’s requirement. The
product specifications can be mentioned online to reduce
the time delay in the negotiations. The information should
be put on the portals of the software firms and
comparability with the competitors should be available.
The software product firms should stress on shortening
their sales cycle. Once the buyer finalizes the buying
decision, the rest time is spent on meetings, information
gathering and negotiations. Shortening the sales cycle
brings sales revenue more quickly and improves the sales IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
productivity. The following points should be considered
for reduction of sales cycles
    a) Use the Web to Pre-qualify Prospects
The software product firms should put enough real
information of demos, application stories, price lists on their
web site so that prospects can self-qualify rather  than
answering basic customer questions. The web sites should be
designed to offer an interactive requirements analysis form
that helps buyers in analyzing payback for client’s
b) Stress on Lowering the Buyer's Perceived Risk  
The software firms should try to lower the perceived risk
against implementation failures of software products. The
software firms should sell software packages on license
months for the first year of deployment and on building trust
the firms can realize license fees based on actual  full
installation. This would also enable the firms to build mutual
trust in software firms.
c) Multiple Product Configurations
The buyers often delay decisions because they feel
constrained by a lack of choices. So vendors should be
offered several price points or freed buyers to assemble
modules to their specifications, this would provide buyers
with more psychological maneuvering room.
d) Put the Paperwork on a Parallel Track
The software firms should put parallel track for   paperwork
so that sales cycle can be shortened. If the client reasonably
close to a deal, the vendors with buyers should be made to
check out standard license terms in advance or else get a
copy of their contract and review the contract with different
departments involved in software marketing.
e) Faster Maintenance and Help Desk Services
The software product vendors should provide quick
maintenance and help desk facilities to the client  by
providing online round the clock services so as to  ensure
high end post sale services of software services and product
2 Integrated Marketing
The software campaigns devised by the firms should  fully
integrate the marketing activities to deliver value of
customers marketing mix should be taken in totality. Product
variety should be provided to the customers to different
customers and choice option should be available to
customers on the web portal. To develop domain sector
specific knowledge, the software firms should consult in
specific areas by combining its existing skills to move up the
value-chain. Catering the needs of the niche markets would
impact on market value able to differentiate the software
products from other firms. Typically firms should begin to
operate in a certain niche areas and from working in these
areas the firms gain enough knowledge about those markets
and then able to move into high-end sector specific
consulting or high end products. It is by working in niche
markets that companies gets in-depth ideas for product
development. Software product vendors should follow
quality standards like ISO 90001, SEI-CMM, PCMM etc to
mark software adherence to global standards. Past referrals
of the clients can be used to convince the customers .The
software product firms has to establish brands to focus
intensely enough on the target segment. It helps to
commoditization of the software services and build customer
loyalty. The software firms should invest in brand promotion
exercise and try to establish their presence in target markets.
This would enable software product firms to promote their
software in overseas markets. The firms should emphasize on
enhancing brand equity in the global marketplace and
making customers see them as global companies.          
Competitive pricing is to be followed so the comparative
analysis of the firm’s software product with the competitor
should be possible. The entire comparative analysis and
differentiation of features with   the price list should be
available on the website of the firm. The price options should
be available with the clients. The following points should be
considered in pricing of software products
• How fast it is installed and working.
• No extra charge for scheduled installation during
business hours
• Premium pricing for 24-hour turnaround time.
• How much training and support is wanted/ needed.
• Premium prices for on-site training including a
"train the trainer" course
• Standard prices for attending scheduled public
training courses.
• How senior and skilled are the people involved.
• Different rates for senior technical consultants
• Premium rates for 24-hour, seven-day service
provided by engineers.
• Discounted rates for certified service technicians.
• The payment terms and timing.
• Financing available
• Discount for prompt payment
To promote the software product and services in the target
markets, the maximum marketing expenditure is generally
allocated on direct sales to the potential customers on one to IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
one basis. The firms should substitute its promotion from
expensive direct sales with telemarketing, voice mail videoconferencing and telesales. The firms should stress on hiring
sales representatives instead of salaried sales people and
orient sales compensation programs to increase rewards
when higher sales and profit levels are achieved. Extensive
use of the Internet and web should be made in software
product marketing, as it is cost effective method for reaching
larger number of clients. Free demo version of software on
trial basis should be send to potential customers along with
detailed information manual for persuading middlemen and
potential customers. The firms operating in software product
space should offer frequent buyer program with customers
where they receive a certain amount of free product and
additional revenues from product updates and additional
services with their next order. Software firms should
frequently inform their existing customers with its latest new
software products and services with updates available to
existing software products. The catalogues, brochures,
manuals and other written material should be in the local
language, to portray there is local image. The software firm
should invest in dedicated especially trained sales staff that
will be involved in traveling, presentations, demonstrations
and persuading clients getting orders. The sales staff should
focus on providing transparent information on the product
and services, as well as what the firm is doing to mitigate the
risks involved in doing business.
Software firms should have efficient global distribution
network to respond effectively to clients’ needs, standards
and setting-up of after sale service shops to provide support,
maintenance and upgrades for the product line. The software
firms should try to ensure the efficient delivery method of
product and services, as it is one of the important parameter
considered by clients in selection of right software vendors.
The software through Internet can be considered as
economical viable channel option for firms as software
products and services delivered as soon as their purchase is
complete. The software product and services information
should reside on server so that it can be instantly downloaded
via a link.  The software products and services can be
marketed through portals to provide instant access as soon as
your customer's payment has been processed. Not only does
instant product delivery benefit customer, but it will also
benefit the firms adopting the practice.  The software firms
should go for automation of software product's ordering and
delivery process, as it would enable the firm to realize more
sales.  The channel followed by the software firms is one of
the determining factors of the prices quoted by the software
units. Volume discounts cause distributors to get the same
product at different prices. Some of the stronger dealers may
reach across their borders for achieving more sales. The
problem of channel conflicts is particularly difficult when
there are transshipments of shrink-wrapped products that
don't require a lot of technical back-up support. Therefore,
due consideration should be made by software firms to use
volume discount schedules that eliminate significant cost
differences for similarly sized distributors and try to
minimize the channel conflicts. So implementation of holistic
marketing activities should consider the technological tools
and able to incorporate database marketing so that decisions
about and holistic strategy can take place in totality. The
performance of the strategies should be designed in the light
of suitable marketing metrics to quantify and compare and
interpret the marketing performance.
3 Internal Marketing
Knowledge driven work force is key for the success of any
software product firms. Appropriate marketing principles
should be implemented in the organization. It involves the
task of hiring, training and motivating able employees who
want to serve the customers. It consider two levels firstly the
marketing function like sales force, advertising, customer
service, product management, market research should work
together. After that the marketing should be pervasive at all
the levels of management. Post sale support and positive
communication should be considered.  The primary cause for
concern of software units is outflow of skilled programmers
and software developers.  This causes a huge demand for
experienced high-end software professionals in the  country.
In addition to investing on training the technical expertise the
firms should groove to develop managerial, people and
specialized selling skills for software by inducing specialized
marketing training programmes of the personnel on regular
basis to tap the potential of world software market.  The
software firms depend on their in-house source for  market
research for identifying the markets, changing trends and
competitors strategies. So the software firms should have
separate specialized marketing research department, which in
liaison with professional market research consultants, foreign
consulates, trade mission and local agencies should try to
analyze and predict about the target markets, technological
trends and marketing strategies so software product can be
developed and marketed accordingly. The breaking of the
language barrier would give new impetus to software firms
for overcoming unexplored markets. Language friendliness
and accommodating to work customs in the target market
would able to influence the clients that may interfere with in
software development process according to the requirement
of the user. In order to be successful, a software  package
must be converted to the language of the nation where it will
be used, and tailored to the local dialect. The localization of
software should involve multiple language versions  of
software product and services according to foreign language
edition that is prevalent in target customers. While localizing
the software the software firms should make due
consideration to review target market i.e. to identify local
linguistic and environmental requirements, extracting text
and due consideration should be made for linguistic or
culturally sensitive material, translating and modifying
elements as per the user requirements, re-engineering the
core software product to accept the new foreign market
content and testing new foreign market editions to  ensure IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
they meet performance standards of domestic product.  The
software firms should try to reduce the cultural gap so a
degree of the user customization can be increased as per the
requirement of the clients.
4 Social Responsible Marketing
It considers ethical, environmental, legal and social context.
Social welfare responsibility require the marketer to carefully
consider them they play in terms of the social welfare
societal marketing concept holds that the organization task is
to determine the needs and interest of the target market. The
software firms should donate a part of there earnings
liberally for social causes. For example big IT major like
Microsoft , Wipro, Infosys  are donating liberally for social
causes like AIDS awareness campaign, Schooling of children
below the poverty line, blood donation camps, development
of infrastructure like roads and  Hi-tech facilities in the cities
near to there campuses because it would create win-win
situation for software product firms as well as society.
Benefits of Holistic Marketing
• Helping achieve focus & direction for software
• Keeping customers happy & satisfied
• Reducing the marketing costs in long run
• Differentiating from competitors
• Improved customer experience  
• Help to derive Innovative business model
• Improved product quality
• Help to establish brands, customers, service quality,
stakeholder relationships, corporate reputation
How Make Holistic Marketing Effective in
Software Product Prospective
• Niching ( Help to identify the Niche Segment for
• Research a new product on the Internet (panel
research, chat rooms).
• Create a site to explain how an existing or new
software product works.
• Create a site that consults on a category (Problem
encountered by software product users).
• Create a site that consults on the client’s profile.
• Sponsor a chat room around your software product
• Answer email questions instantly.
• Send free samples of new software
products/Updates on regular basis.
• Customize software product as per client’s
• Offer valuable information to people who will
register on the site.
• Offer a wide software product line so the customer
can choose something closer to the customer’s
• Stand ready to customize the software product
according to the customer’s wishes
• Identifying new value opportunities for
 renewing their markets,
• Efficiently creating the most promising new  value
Earmarks of the Holistic Marketing
1. Recognize growing customer empowerment.
2. Develop a focused offering to the target market
3. Design the marketing from the customer-back.
4. Focus on delivering outcomes, not products.
5. Draw in the customer to co-create value.
6. Use newer ways to reach the customer with a
7. Develop metrics and ROI measurement.
8. Develop high-tech marketing tools .
9. Focus on building long run assets.
10. View marketing holistically to regain influence in
the company.
Holistic marketing deployment in software product
marketing would enable firms to produce more profits which,
in turn are achieved by maintaining loyal patronage,
generating positive word of mouth recommendation and
increasing the time of involvement with the customers. It
would also influence the stakeholders to positively influence
in perception of customers and perceived experiential value
can be enhanced for the society.
[1]   Kotler Philip and Keller Lane Kelvin (2006), “Marketing
Management”, Prentice Hall of India, 12th edition.
[2]  Murphy,Brian; Maguiness, Paul; Pescott, Chris; Wislang,
Soren; MaJingwu; Wang,Rongmei European Journal of    
Marketing, Emerald Group Publishing Limited Volume
39, Numbers 9-10, 2005, pp. 1049-1059(11)
    [3] Prem Vrat, Sardana G.D and SahayB.S.(1998)    
Productivity Mangement: A system approach, Narosa
Publication House,  New Delhi.
[4]   Svensson GoÈran (2001) , “Re-evaluating the marketing
        Concept” European Business Review, Volume 13.  
        Number 2. 2001. pp. 95±100, # MCB University
        Press. ISSN 0955-534X. IJCSMS International Journal of Computer Science & Management Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 01, May 2011      
ISSN (Online):  2231 –5268                                  
• http://fiveringsmarketing.com/fiveringssolutions.html
• http://www.360mediacorp.com/articles/holistic_marketin
• www.houstonbusinessimageconsultants.com/trad_marketi
• http://www.softwarepricing.com/readingroom/Articles/Sh

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