From the inside, it always feels like things are moving too slowly, but from the outside, clearly WaveMaker is, well, creating liquid oscillations.
Later on today, I am presenting to a group of Haas MBAs on the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship. So with my professorial hat on (and continuing my series on open source marketing metrics), here is my best guess at a stepwise approach to building buzz:
- Go open source to get into the game. It is amazing to me how many SaaS and cloud companies are still playing the old, proprietary enterprise software game. I believe that open source is the only viable technology channel today - without this, building buzz is almost impossible. Coghead was the latest victim of the proprietary software strategy, despite launching the first, easy-to-use cloud development platform. iPhone is a good counter-example, but Apple is a special case of a company that has always gotten away with murder because of their fanatic base of developers.
- Feed your community to build a fan base. Without an open source product, I would argue that it is almost impossible to create a self-sufficient community. Communities don't grow by themselves, though. It takes dedicated resources to nurture a community into a real advocate for your product.
- Blog your vision. Blogs provide a platform for entering into a dialogue (or at least a protracted monologue) about where the market is going. It creates a way to engage with the community and draw new people to the community. For the last 6 months, the Keeneview blog has always been the number 2 or 3 source of new downloads for WaveMaker.
- Twitter your tactics. Twitter provides an instant gratification approach to discussing the latest tactical nuances of your strategy. My Twitter account is where I make short, cryptic pronouncements for the benefit of all my ADHD friends.
- Carpet bomb your successes. Whenever anything good happens, I make sure the world knows about it. This includes not just spamming my own social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, dZone, delicious, stumbleupon) but also reaching out to all the other bloggers out there who are always looking for validation points around their own vision. For example, each time I make a blog post, I send emails to a dozen or so bloggers who I think will be most interested in it, thereby getting a multiplier effect.
- Brief analysts to confirm your victories. Analysts like Judith Hurwitz, Michael Cote at Redmonk, Mark Driver at Gartner and John Rymer at Forrester are critical for getting the word out, but I see their role as fast followers, not leaders of market momentum. Once you have enough proof points among bleeding edge adopters, the analysts can connect the dots for more mainstream adoption, not to mention perform major messaging tune-ups!