Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New Software Product Marketing Strategy

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New Software Product Marketing Strategy

Posted By: Anonymous on 8/20/2005 at 11:33 AM200 Points
We’re launching a new product and need lots of help getting the whole marketing picture together. The product is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook that links contact and event information together. A 5-minute tour can be downloaded from here and will get you up to speed quickly on the product: [inactive link removed]

Here’s what I need help with:
1) The product is difficult to describe
2) Developing a clear value proposition/product benefits
Which all feeds to the bottom line: What do we need to do to sell more product.

We built an initial website that’s currently being re-designed: [inactive link removed]. The structure will remain the same but look & feel is being reworked as well as content.

I look forward to hearing back from the experts!

[Moderator: Inactive link removed from post. 2/14/2011]
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Posted by: wnelsonMember Response
8/20/2005 at 12:54 PM

OK, I downloaded the software and have played with it. Yes, it's undefinable. It's not a contact database like Microsoft's Business Contact Manager. It's not a CRM database. It's not a productivity tool or task manager. You can use it to organize your thoughts, but it's deeper than that.

I think the hardest thing to categorize is what it organizes. Calling them "events" is a bit confusing. I think of events as conferences, symposiums, conventions, book signings, etc. Calling all of the activities you can track "events" sounds like one of the software guys' labels. "In C++ I will call this an "event object.'" Psychology people would call these "personal interactions," but that doesn't sound right to me either. A sales guy might call these "customer touches." But this limits it to use by sales. It has diary and jounal capability, but "diary" sounds like a product for a teenage girl and "journal" sounds like something your therapist prescribes. What this's the notebook I carry with me always. I write down records of phone calls, meeting - including meeting minutes, face to face discussions....but I call that my notebook. When coupled with Outlook's calendar and task manager, the most common term for what people carry around with them is an "organizer or planner." Outlook has a tremendous weakness in being a true organizer because of the pieces missing you add. Your front end can give us a true organizer. There's a few pieces of functionality missing to be able to do this, however. I'll detail them at the end. I believe the first thing you should do is list all of the activities you are organizing in front of a bunch of real people (potential customers) and brainstorm what to call them.

As far as a value proposition...if this is positioned as "an organizer" then I think that you can tout the advantages as follows (these are productivity, efficiency, convenience):
1) You don't have to carry around that "extra" notebook
2) Organized such that you can do searches quickly and find something. I don't know how many times I flipped through my notebooks looking for the log entry I entered.
3) Linked to people/companies, etc. You can review what has been accomplished which is an aid to:
a) weekly/monthly reports
b) planning for the future
c) recognizing patterns and drawing conclusions

In short, if you think about the alternatives people have today and the burdens those present which you remedy, those are your benefits.

So, now, for features:
1) I like the "event blog" however, I don't like that I have to enter the name by hand. A pulldown derived from Outlook's contacts database would be beneficial. I can't rememeber spellings of names and might enter a typo
2) Some standard templates might ne nice. For instance, for meeting notes, having a way to pull down names of attendees (and then those you want to copy on the minutes as you publish them), a section for the agenda (which can be built ahead of time and sent out to the attendees - which you can have a checkbox next to their names to include them as present...something like that), a place for summary of discussion (maybe under each agenda topic), conclusions, and actions (with a spot for WHO is responsible - again, with a pulldown from the contact list, WHEN it's due (and wouldn't it be nice if this appeared on the person's task list as a "thing to do?"). How about a phone call planner - when, who, what I want to talk about...there are examples available for sales people, etc on phone call plans. How about an employee coaching session - where you are telling them about something they did wrong, what they need to do to correct it, when you will follow up, etc?
3) Ability to tie "events" not just to "people" but also to tasks or calendar entries - so, I can have a task for putting together a marketing plan for EventLook. In Outlook, I can put a date due and such. But, in organizing my thoughts, I could blog and then attach it to the task.

Those are some of my thoughts. I hope this helps.


Posted by: SageHillMember Response
8/22/2005 at 9:31 AM
A note of admiration for the complete analysis and recommendations provided by Wayde: "Right on!"

Posted by: telemoxieAccepted Answer
8/23/2005 at 1:43 AM
If I were marketing the product, in addition to trying to sell a generic "horizontal" application, I'd look for specific vertical market related applications. For example, if you set up a "template" which handled project management for marketing campaigns, you might find a few dozen interested folks here.

The templates could help customers get up to speed faster, could be an added source of revenue, and could help you develop marketing materials describing specific benefits of your software. I'd look at Lotus Notes (is it still called Lotus notes?) for examples of how to set up vertical market business models and relationships with 3rd party SME "template writers".

If you want to talk further - give me a ring, I'm local to you (click my profile to the right). Good luck.

Posted by: wnelsonAccepted Answer
8/23/2005 at 11:15 AM
I like the idea of going to Microsoft. I wonder about your leverage with them. Suppose they try to buy you for nothing and you decide to play hardball. What prevents them from taking their millions of programmers and making a product just like yours? I'm not saying going to Microsoft is bad so much as cautioning you to have your strategy and tactics down before you enter the board room.

As far as "finishing" the software, adding verticle market templates, and such, well, you know as well as I do that you can engineer a product forever. At some point, you need to put it out in the market. Having a "roadmap" of templates for vericle markets is acceptable. People enjoy software that has some extension to it in future revisions. Getting field experience is key too.

With respect to functionality, I believe you might want to decide what it is you have - its position in the user space - and then look at the present solutions. If you are trying to replace existing solutions, you will want to have at least the basic functionality and solutions to some of the problems people have today. If this is like an "organizer" then having capability to log thoughts and conversations is prime - you have that. Extra features of tying it to people is a plus. For those items that aren't "people related" - you can always tell users to tie those items to themselves. Later revisions can give additional functionality.

Just some more ramblings.


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