Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Measure Marketing Results Early and Often

Ready, Aim, Fire! is much more effective than Ready, Fire, Aim!

So says Mark Stevens in his book "Your Marketing Sucks."

Stevens' marketing philosophy is simple - Every business has to look at every marketing expense, and measure its impact on the firm. If you're doing marketing that isn't bringing in more money than it costs, then stop that particular marketing activity.

While "Your Marketing Sucks" is written for larger companies that center their marketing activities on buying television advertisements, Stevens' ideas apply well to the microISV world, too.

After you've launched a press release campaign, it can take three to four months for your New Product Announcement to get published in a monthly magazine. Don't measure the results of your press release emailing until the print publications have had time to respond. By contrast, software developers should measure the results of advertising campaigns early and often.

It's more difficult, in some ways, for microISVs to measure results than it is for huge companies. But that doesn't mean that small software companies shouldn't monitor results of their advertising campaigns. In our industry, we may have to be a bit more creative to find ways to measure the effects of our promotion dollars.

Another reason that most marketing sucks, Stevens explains, is that "winning ideas win only if they are executed brilliantly."

I've watched the launches of quite a few new software applications, and the word "brilliant" doesn't always come to mind. As a general rule, software developers can be more effective at making a splash. Use your newsletter to announce your software launch. Create a series of postings on your blog. Enlist a team of affiliates and get them excited about your new product. Send press releases to editors, columnists, and bloggers. Talk with other microISVs, and barter write-ups on their blogs and newsletters.

To sum up: Measure results, and focus on execution. It's good software marketing.

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