Saturday, July 18, 2009

Enterprise Software Gotcha

Seth Godin, one of my favorite reads, recently had a nice little post about how product marketing tries to trick people into believing that their products are more than they seem - bigger, cheaper,stronger, healhier and so on. Rather than working with what value the product can actually deliver the marketing folk get carried away and like to claim more than what they can deliver.

He points out the example of an item on sale that looks bigger than it is - and then adds:
"There are lots of things you can do to make the sale. They often are precisely the opposite of what you should do to generate word of mouth. I know, you can't have word of mouth unless you have a sale, but a sale that leads to pain is hardly worth it.
My rule of thumb is this: every person you turn away because your product or service isn't right for them turns into three great customers down the road. Every bad sale costs you five."

Enterprise Software industry suffers from the same disease. Traditional vendors who are only in it for the initial sale will often tout features that are half-baked, or try to blur the line between products (WebShpere & Fusion do this well) so that the customer has almost no idea what is in a particular product versus a feature in one of the products of the family.

With SaaS, its easier - you get what you see. Most customers start out with mini deployments or trials actually experiencing the product before they make much larger commitments.

I don't know about you but I want to be able to see how big the bowl is before I try to make a cake in it. Mmm.. Cake.

1 comment:

Pankaj said...

I think the same happened with SharePoint, there was a disconnect in marketing-functionality. It was presented as "everyman's collaboration tool", but turned out to be a lot more complex in practice. It is this failing that collaboration software like HyperOffice have positioned themselves against, with some success in the small business domain.