Friday, February 28, 2014

Sell More Software
with Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Book review of The Anatomy of Buzz - How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen (published 2002 by Doubleday - Currency).

Traditional advertising is out. Buzz is the new way to sell products and services - like your software. Buzz includes word-of-mouth, press releases, social media, and any vehicle that gets people talking about your applications.

"The Anatomy of Buzz" teaches the principles of buzz. Even though this book is not about the software development industry, these principles apply to software marketing, too.

Rosen was the first marketing author to try to systematize word-of-mouth marketing, and to propose it as an alternative to traditional advertising. Rosen interviewed more than 150 executives, marketing professionals, and researchers who used buzz to build brands successfully. He presents his findings in a way that applies to all industries - including giving insights into your software marketing.

I find it difficult to translate Rosen's examples into the day-to-day marketing challenges of microISVs. There's quite a bit of work required to apply his general principles to our industry. For example, the final chapter of "The Anatomy of Buzz" includes about 100 questions that every business owner should be asking, to see if they're using buzz properly to publicize their product or service. While his general questions are useful, there are buzz-related questions that I think would be much more useful for software developers:

  • Are you sending press releases to editors, reviewers, and bloggers who can tell their readers about your software?
  • Have you encouraged well-targeted people to comment on your blog postings?
  • Are you actively talking about your software in the technical and vertical-market forums and discussion groups?
  • Are you using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the other social media sites to promote your applications?
  • Have you joined the on-target trade associations, and are you giving not-for-resale (NFR) copies of your application to influential people there?

I would recommend that you visit your favorite bookstore or public library, and spend a few minutes reading "The Anatomy of Buzz." The dust cover gives you a great overview of the concepts discussed in the book. And the final chapter has a great checklist of concepts that you should be thinking about. Decide for yourself. Whether you buy the book or not, good buzz means good software marketing.

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