Thursday, June 25, 2009

Big Hairy Severed Jugulars - and other secrets of marketing new software products

While our engineering team works feverishly on the Beta 2 release of WaveMaker for the cloud (with intermittent breaks for foosball), I am wrestling with how to explain what our product does and why anyone should care.

Let's face it - small, innovative tech companies are a dime a dozen. When we ask potential customers to literally bet their careers on our latest shiny gizmo, there had better be a pretty compelling reward to offset that risk.

With that in mind, I am creating a marketing pitch to overcome customer's innate skepticism by answering three basic questions:
  1. What is the severed jugular customer pain point? The first step is to identify a customer problem that you can solve and that customers really care about. Solving an annoying problem works for established vendors (kind of), but absolutely will not get a new vendor in the door. The marketing pitch has to solve a top 3 problem where the customer believes "if I don't get this resolved my job is on the line."
  2. What is a unique selling proposition? Connected directly to the pain point, you have to define exactly what unique benefit the customer can only get from your product. The important point here is that there is a single unique value that you will put first and foremost in front of the customer.
  3. What is our company's big hairy audacious goal? Even if a customer has a huge pain point and sees the value of your unique selling proposition, they will only buy if they think you will be around long enough to solve their problem. In this case, "solve their problem" means that the customer gets so much glory for choosing your product that they get promoted (at which point it's the next guy's problem ;-). Creating a big vision for your tiny company is a powerful way to give your customer confidence that your product is around for the long haul.
This of course sounds more formulaic than it actually is, but at a minimum provides some good questions to ask when evaluating a marketing pitch. Stay tuned for WaveMaker for the cloud's answers to these questions!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Twitter is AIM for adults

At the monthly NVMDA* last night, the topic turned (as all tech topics do these days) to Twitter.

What those of us with teenagers reported is that Twitter is a complete non-phenomenon for the otherwise technologically-obsessed younger generation.

Our conclusion was that Twitter is most exciting for people who don't use instant messaging. To be sure, Twitter != AIM and vice versa, but Twitter provokes a fascination with instant communication among older geeks that younger geeks like my son experience every day via text messaging.

Not that this necessarily spells any sort of dire outcome for Twitter, just that it is unlikely to replace SMS as the communication vehicle of choice for the next generation of computer jocks.

* Noe Valley Men's Drinking Association, a poorly, but aptly named group of thirsty gentlemen.