Friday, December 26, 2014

BYOD's Popularity Grows

Gartner completed a study earlier this year (as reported in the November 14, 2014 issue of Processor Magazine) that shows that 40% of US consumers who work for large corporations and nonprofits are part of the "bring your own device (BYOD) to work" movement. They routinely bring their laptop, notebook, tablet, or smartphone to work, and use their mobile device for both personal and business tasks.

The study found that 25% of workers who use their own device on the job are required by their company to use these personal devices at work. The remaining 75% of workers who use their own device on the job are a 50-50 mix of people whose BYOD activities are tolerated by management, and people who are doing company business on these devices "outside of managerial awareness."

In my opinion, it will take only a handful of well-publicized lawsuits to nudge large companies to take more control of the BYOD trend. Consider, for example, the case of a manager at a Fortune 100 company who has confidential information about a proposed merger or acquisition on his tablet. If that device is stolen, and the confidential information appears on an Internet news site, and that information is covered by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), then nobody would be surprised by the multi-million dollar lawsuits that would be launched. Similarly, if confidential health or financial data about a company's employees or customers were leaked on the Internet, the legal liabilities could be astronomical.

Eventually, businesses and nonprofits will all be treating information on employees' personal mobile devices as mission-critical data. This is the time for software developers to make sure that their programs and apps are as secure as possible. These applications need to have the ability to completely and permanently delete information, and not simply mark files for deletion and dump them into recycle bins that can be recovered by anybody with a couple of hours of spare time and a $99 file-recovery program.

Security could very well be the criterion that separates winners from losers in the software marketplace in a world where BYOD problems could dominate the headlines.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sponsorships and Software Developers

"A well-chosen and well-managed sponsorship can move your brand forward more dramatically than almost any other marketing activity."

... quotation by David F. D'Alessandro from his book "Brand Warfare"

To learn more about brand association, or to learn more about D'Alessandro's book, visit my Software Marketing Glossary.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Marketing is Science

"Marketing, like science, isn't about knowing all the answers when you start out. It's about experimenting, measuring the results, analyzing them, and then making adjustments based on what you find out."

So says Sergio Zyman in his book "The End of Marketing As We Know It." Marketing has nothing to do with having an intuitive feel for style or drama.

Marketing is science. You do stuff. You collect data, look at it, and make changes. Rinse. Repeat.

Be sure to analyze both your successes and your failures, Zyman urges.

Try things that might work. Then test, measure, and revise.

Zyman tells us not to be afraid to change tactics. Stick to the strategies, keep an eye on the destination, and try different tactics to meet your goals.

I'll leave you with one more quotation from Sergio Zyman:

"Don't be blinded by your assumptions. Just because you run a promotion and it works doesn't mean that it worked for the reasons that you thought it would."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tinkerers and the
Internet of Things (IoT)

Gartner tells us that it will be "inventors, tinkerers, and entrepreneurs who create and manufacture products" for the Internet of Things (IoT). As reported in the November 14, 2014 issue of Processor Magazine, Gartner does not believe that the software giants will be the people who drive the connection between electronic devices and the Internet.

For the next three years, it will be small, agile, hungry start-ups - the kind of people who brought us the shareware revolution in the 1980s that was eventually embraced by the entire software industry.

To read more about the Internet of Things and how it might unfold in the coming years, please check out my review of David Rose's book "Enchanted Objects - Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

BYOD Backups

The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) asked IT professionals who are responsible for their enterprises' data protection if they ensure that BYOD data is backed up. The bring your own device (BYOD) trend has resulted in many employees bringing their own notebook, tablet, or smartphone to work. ESG wanted to know if the IT people who back up data that is stored on company devices also back up BYOD data stored on employees' devices.

Not so much.

"54% of organizations with formal endpoint backup policies either don't include employee-owned devices in their backup plans or aren't even sure if those devices are protected."

What are the reasons for not backing up BYOD data? The major excuses are:

  • Not a strategic priority at this time - 48%
  • No concerns about data loss - 38%
  • Budget constraints - 31%
  • Too much data to protect - 27%
  • Burden on IT of data retrieval/recovery processes - 26%
  • No compliance requirements - 22%
  • No corporate policy - 21%
  • Impact on data center (server) backup and recovery processes - 17%
  • No concerns about downtime/productivity loss - 14%

For more details of the survey, check out the ESG blog.

In my opinion, IT departments will eventually take more responsibility for backing up BYOD information. Alternatively, they'll select laptop/notebook applications and tablet/smartphone apps that have full-featured backup processing that is so easy to use that their employees will actually use it.

You'll sell more software to businesses if your programs have rock-solid backup capabilities. Marketing isn't something that you do after you've designed an application. Marketing includes the functionality that you build into your program design. Build in some powerful backup capabilities, and your program will be a lot easier to sell.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Value of Your Software

"The prospect must believe that your product has more value than his or her money."

... quotation by Joe Girard from his book "How to Close Every Sale"

To learn more about closing the sale, or to learn more about Girard's book, visit my Software Marketing Glossary.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Software Developers -
Know Your Audience

"Write as though you were addressing someone whose opinion you value," said Patricia T. O'Conner in her book "Words Fail Me - What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing."

O'Conner urges writers to know the people whom we want to read their sales presentation. Identify your audience. Determine the correct vocabulary, tone, sentence structure, and imagery that you'll need to use to communicate effectively with your audience. Learn their level of sophistication, their likes and dislikes, and their demographic and psychographic attributes.

"Words Fail Me" is not about writing for the software development business. It's about writing in general. But O'Conner's ideas apply beautifully to our industry. In the software development industry, the texture of a microISV's sales presentation has to match the audience that she's trying to reach. Otherwise, prospects are going to find - and buy software applications from - her competitors.

Selling to Large Enterprises

If you're offering a mission-critical application to Fortune-500 line managers, you can't sound like you're an individual working from a kitchen table. Instead, you need to build your credibility and convey the impression that you're an established, thriving firm.

How do you build this kind of credibility when selling to Fortune-500 companies, universities, and large government institutions? Include your phone number and postal address on every page of your website. Brag about the level of customer support that you provide to your clients. Invite prospects to phone you during normal business hours (whatever that means) to discuss any questions or problems that they might have. Proudly offer multi-user and site licenses at attractive prices. Welcome purchase orders rather than requiring corporate buyers to use a credit card to start the buying process.

Selling to Entrepreneurs

If you're offering a business application to entrepreneurs, you can't describe it using technical language because your prospects won't understand you. Don't expect these software buyers to take the time to learn tech talk just to evaluate and use your program.

For example, if you say that your software requires DirectX 11, and your competitors don't say that their applications need DirectX 11, then a lot of your prospects are going to buy from your competitors. There's not one entrepreneur in ten who knows if their computer has DirectX 11 installed. And there's not one in a thousand who knows how to determine if they do or don't have it on their computer. Stop losing sales by confusing your prospects. Speak to them in a language that they understand.

Speak to business customers in simple business English. Avoid technical terms whenever possible. If you can't work around using computer jargon, then take the time to define the terms that you're using.

Many of your prospects speak English as a second language. To convince these people to make a buying decision, it's important to use common words to form short, simple sentences.

Selling Educational Software

If you're marketing educational software to parents and children, explain that you're a parent yourself, and talk in an inviting, conversational tone. You're delivering a sales message to prospects who share your frustrations with today's educational system. Write to them the way you would write to a friend.

Don't craft your online sales presentation the same way you would write about a business program. Instead, explain how you designed your software for your own children. Make prospects understand how easy your application is to install and use.

Fear of Writing

Many people are afraid to write. O'Conner believes that fear of writing is very often fear of your readers - your software prospects. The more you understand and talk to your audience, the easier it will become to write sales messages, user guides, and all of the documents that microISVs create every week.

In the software development world, many microISVs write for people like themselves. Instead, software developers should be writing for their target audience which is often made up of prospects who lack the technical background to easily understand the developer's website, help file, or promotional email messages.

Writing for Multiple Audiences

Never talk down to the reader, O'Conner reminds us. Sure, developers often have to describe their software using simple terms so that computer newbies and non-technical prospects can grasp the fundamentals. Find a way to simplify your writing without dumbing it down, and without talking down to prospects and customers.

One effective way to write for multiple audiences is to create multiple pathways through your website. For example, if you're selling network administration software, your prospects come from a wide range of technical backgrounds.

Some of the people who need your software are experienced networking veterans who understand the business. They're familiar with technical jargon, and they want your sales presentation to speak to them professionally.

You have other prospects who were promoted to the job of Network Administrator last week, and they're practically clueless about what to look for in a software package. They need a lot of hand-holding. Your sales message has to explain to them how your software can make their jobs easier.

How do you write effectively for both audiences? Create a read-out box on your home page with the title "Solutions for..." and include bullet points such as "Experienced Network Administrators" and "New Network Managers". If you're trying to coax users of competitive applications to switch to your software, then include bullet points for "Current users of Product-X".

Give each target audience a web page that speaks directly to their needs. Do a lot of defining and explaining for the newbies, and deliver a "Quick-Start" style presentation for the grizzled veterans.

Treat your reader respectfully, and your attitude will be reflected in your writing. The more you know about your prospects, the stronger your software marketing will be.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Waiting for Editors to Phone You

Eight or ten years ago, it was common for editors to phone or email software developers if they were going to print their press release information.

Today, however, it's very rare to hear from an editor. So, if you do receive a software editor's response to your press release, it's probably a good sign that the press will be interested in your application.

You'll generally find out that you're in print or posted on the Internet when prospects phone you, or when you notice an increase in your downloads, or when you receive a Google Alert. If an editor or blogger needs a screenshot, or wants an evaluation copy of your program, they may phone you before they print your information. But most editors won't notify microISVs before using their New Product Announcements.

Press releases give purchasers a chance to think about your software.

Your competitors are using news releases to sell more of their application programs. Press releases are a cost-effective way to generate sales. Start your news release campaign today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 Technology Trends

Gartner has released its list of strategic technology trends for 2015, as published in the October 31, 2014 issue of Processor Magazine. These are the trends that Gartner believes have the potential to make a major impact on businesses in the next three years. The research firm is urging businesses to understand and plan for these ten strategic technology trends:

  • Computing everywhere
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • 3D printing
  • Advanced, pervasive, and invisible analytics
  • Context-rich systems
  • Smart machines
  • Cloud/client computing
  • Software-defined applications and infrastructure
  • Web-scale IT
  • Risk-based security and self-protection

Lots of business managers listen to Gartner's predictions. There may be some lucrative opportunities for small independent software vendors (microISVs) to develop applications to take advantage of these new technologies.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marketing Software to Millennials

Book Review of "Marketing to Millennials - Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever" by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton (Published by AMACOM, July 2013)

Millennials spend about $200 billion annually in the US. In addition, the authors argue that Millennials influence another $500 billion in spending because of their impact on their older family members, friends, and colleagues. Fromm and Garton believe that Millennials exert a lot more power and influence on society than any other demographic group. Whether you're selling consumer or business products and services, you have to start marketing effectively to this huge, influential group of consumers if you want your business to grow and prosper.

Not everybody agrees that the Millennials have this much clout. In the October 2014 issue of AARP Bulletin, there is a feature article that questions the wisdom of advertisers targeting Millennials while virtually ignoring consumers aged 50 and above. The article quotes Bob Hoffman, author of the book 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising: "The idea that the way to influence older consumers is by targeting younger consumers is the purest form of ageism. No one would dare argue that the way to influence women is to target men [or] to influence black people is to target white people."

Most people agree, however, that members of Generation X and Baby Boomers often seek advice from younger adults when considering buying tech products, including computer software. While it may be a mistake to ignore older buyers, it certainly makes sense to target Millennials. And that may require many software developers to adopt a different perspective.

The authors define Millennials as the 84 million Americans who were born between 1977 and 1995. They make up about a quarter of the US population. Generation Y is another name for Millennials.

There is not universal agreement about the definition of Millennials or Gen-Yers. In his book The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm, Kenneth W. Gronbach defines Generation Y as the 100 million people in the US born between 1985 and 2010. Fromm and Garton included people born as early as 1977 because they wanted to study and discuss how Millennials behave after they have married and started raising children.

The Marketing to Millennials book is based upon a survey taken in 2011 and 2012 by Fromm's company, Barkeley, the largest employee-owned US ad agency, and two other institutions. They surveyed 4,259 Millennials (aged 16 to 34) and 1,234 older folks (aged 35 to 74). It's refreshing to read a marketing book that is based upon research, and not just the personal observations and opinions of one particular marketing professional. There is a lot of information in this book that can help small independent software vendors (microISVs) sell more software.

The researchers debunked the notion that Millennials are a homogeneous group. They grouped their findings into six distinct groups of Millennials, and described their attitudes and buying habits in depth. The researchers believe that Millennials' opinions are leading indicators  in the areas of media consumption, advocacy, and social media usage. I think it's fair to add the consumption of tech hardware and software to that list, too.

How are Millennials different from Baby Boomers and members of Generation X? Millennials talk about the brands that they love. They use Facebook to tell a wide audience how they feel about consumer goods. The authors call this the "participation economy" because Millennials use social media to talk about the brands that they support throughout the entire product life cycle.

The authors quote Bill George of the Harvard Business School: "They (Millennials) want to interact. Measure 'Return on Involvement' not 'Return on Investment.'" Before the crowdsourced ratings found in Facebook and Twitter, and before review websites such as Yelp, consumers didn't have the option to deliver instant feedback to manufacturers and marketers. Things have changed.

Today, everybody can participate. The Millennials seem to think that companies should seek their opinions. They're not just passive consumers.

The authors cite the iOS and Android business models as an example of the power of Millennials' attitudes. Apple's proprietary approach to app development lies in sharp contrast to Android's open-source approach. Even Steve Wozniak is quoted in an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) report extolling the virtues of Android's open system.

In 2011, iOS owned 60 percent of the marketplace of smartphones and tablets. By mid-2012, Apple's market share dropped to 16.9 percent, and Android owned 68.1 percent of the worldwide installed base. The authors believe that Android's open approach to software development contributed to its increase in market share. And Millennials had a huge influence on this turnaround.

Software developers are continually asking the question, "What application should I develop next?" Without getting into a dialog with Millennials, it would be easy to make a bad decision.

Millennials have more Facebook friends than non-Millennials. Lots more! Forty-six percent of Millennials have 200+ friends, while 19 percent of non-Millennials do.

Even more dramatic is the contrast between Millennials and non-Millennials when asked to react to the statements "I feel like I'm missing something if I'm not on Facebook every day." and "My life feels richer now that I am connected to more people through social media."

The authors call Millennials "Digital Natives." Even though Millennials and non-Millennials spend about the same amount of time on the web, Millennials contribute and use more content in their daily lives. They're much more likely to have their own blog and their own website. They subscribe to more data and news feeds. They upload much more content to the Internet. And they're somewhat more likely to rate products and services online.

Millennials are optimistic. Although they were clobbered by the recent downturn in the US economy, the Millennials, according to a Pew study, are upbeat about their financial prospects.

Millennials are trend setters. Their tastes today will be society's preferences in the coming years.

If you're trying to market software to Millennials, you need to understand how they view themselves, and not how they're viewed by people from other generations.

The best way to learn to think like a Millennial is to buy an Xbox. So says Rudy Wilson, the former VP of marketing for Frito-Lay. Don't assume that because you were once a teenager, Wilson tells us, you understand today's teenagers and young adults.

The authors believe that you'll raise your chances of marketing successfully to Millennials if you do these five things:

  • Realize that Millennials are early adopters of emerging technologies. Use these new technologies, along with the social media sites, to engage them.
  • Help Millennials link up with your marketing people by creating an electronic tool that lets them speak to you directly.
  • Find a way that Millennials can support your brand and, at the same time, show fellow Millennials that they know what they're talking about.
  • Make your brand fun and full of adventure.
  • Build a loyalty program that speaks to Millennials.

The book describes the six subgroups of Millennials - Hip-ennials, Old-School Millennials, Gadget Gurus, Clean and Green Millennials, Millennial Moms, and Anti-Millennials. There are detailed descriptions of the attitudes of each group, and suggestions for how to reach them with marketing and advertising messages. These descriptions can help software developers fine-tune the sales presentations on their websites.

There are counter-intuitive suggestions in the book that deliver insights on how to market to these folks. Ron Johnson, former VP of retail for Apple, said, "Look at the Apple Stores, which have annual sales averaging $40 million per store in a category that in 2000 everyone said would move entirely to the Internet. Today, the Apple Stores are the highest-performing stores in the history of retailing." Millennials have had a huge influence on the success of the Apple Stores. Similarly, they can make a big difference in most software developers' sales.

If you're a Baby Boomer or a member of Generation X, you need to read Marketing to Millennials. I found it to be a fascinating description of the attitudes and preferences of today's younger generation. And it gave me a lot of marketing insights about how to more effectively reach one quarter of the people living in the US.