Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trial and Error Marketing

"Marketing is a learning game," Philip Kotler tells us. "You make a decision. You watch the results. You learn from the results. Then you make better decisions."

This quotation from his 1999 book "Kotler On Marketing - How to Create, Win, and Dominate Markets" reflects Kotler's approach to marketing, a subject that he knows quite a bit about. At the time he wrote "Kotler on Marketing," he had sold more than 3,000,000 copies of his marketing textbooks. And he was able to list AT&T, General Electric, Ford, IBM, and other Fortune 100 companies as his marketing clients.

Software developers should heed Kotler's advice about marketing being an exercise in learning. There are so many factors that each microISV has to master - naming your product, creating a brand that the marketplace respects and buys, positioning your software in the minds of your prospects and customers, developing an online presence and a superlative sales presentation, developing the structure needed to process inquiries, fill orders, and upsell, cross-sell, and just plain sell more software to existing customers.

Don't expect to get everything right the first time. Study the marketplace. Launch your best products and services. Measure your profit results. Tweak one thing at a time, and measure the impact on sales and profits.

The process never ends.

Kotler tells us that our success depends upon our ability to work well with all of our stakeholders. Kotler lists employees, suppliers, distributors, dealers, customers, and stockholders. A better list for microISVs might be customers, affiliates, eCommerce providers, download site owners, copywriters, press release companies, marketers, and other vendors that service the software development industry.

Build relationships with your stakeholders. Help them succeed, and they'll support you, too.

Software marketing is a learning game.

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