Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Software Positioning for microISVs

Book review of The New Positioning - The Latest on the World's #1 Business Strategy by Jack Trout (published 1997 by McGraw-Hill, Inc.).

Fifteen years after Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind", Trout released his updated ideas about positioning. The world of marketing has changed, and Trout's insights have become sharper. Jack Trout's latest ideas on positioning can help with your software marketing.

The original "Positioning" book was a breakthrough because it changed the focus of marketing. Before "Positioning," marketing was about what you do to the product.After "Positioning," marketing has been about what you do to the mind.

"The New Positioning" talks about new things that we've learned about the human mind. It delivers case studies of firms that had to reposition themselves in people's minds if they were to survive and grow. And it provides a lot of practical advice for business owners, including software developers. There are ideas on how to name your company and product, and how to make sure customers will comprehend your product's category.

Trout believes that you can't successfully position your product or service as something that everybody needs. It's not possible to convince buyers that your software has, say, both the most powerful feature-set and the simplest interface. It's unlikely that your software is the most powerful, while being the least expensive. Your software can't be the ideal solution for both newbies and techies. You have to carve out a position in the marketplace, and dominate that position.

Decades ago, car manufacturers would position themselves as dominant in a particular category. By contrast, today's Chevrolets are both tiny and huge, cars and trucks, inexpensive and luxury. Trout explains that, as confusion goes up, market share goes down.

microISVs have a similar problem in defining their categories, and their positions within these categories. Developers are tempted to describe their software applications as the solution to every problem. Instead, microISVs should create separate programs for each market. It's better software marketing.

Much of "The New Positioning" is targeted at consumer goods that customers buy again and again. People buy Windows popup blockers in a much different way than they buy cola each week. But the book has a lot of fresh ideas - ideas that will enhance your software marketing.

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