I’ve had the chance to work at a few different companies, small and large, and see both the differences in marketing and it’s effectiveness. No matter what anyone tells you, marketing is what makes software companies successful or failures. It has nothing to do with the product (software) that is being sold. All a person had to do is look at the last dot com bubble and dot com bubble 2.0. It’s all about marketing. Half of these sites have business models that could stand up in a first year business course at Hill Billy Valley Community College and yet they manage to get millions in funding. Why is it that this happens?
The people at these places convince the people with the money that they want, need and can’t live without their product that the company is flogging. They don’t sell the software, the sell the idea behind the software. If you can do that, and make sales, I think that you will have a strong start. To be long lasting you need to have the product to back up the vision that you’ve sold.
I’ve been in two smaller companies in the past and I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. In one the owner/salesman/wanna-be-but-never-could-be-programmer sold the crap out of an idea. Perhaps so much that there was no chance the the software would ever be able to succeed under the expectations. In the end it hasn’t, and it most likely won’t (there are other reasons for this, but a big part of it is this fact). On the flip side, I worked for a company that sold their vision, and idea, but not with the unlimited hype that you commonly see in Web 2.0 style apps today. Instead they sold the “hype” in a way that the software could meet and the clients still got major benefits from it. They did this so well that they were still selling a green screen application in 2005.
The reason that I started down this idea trail was the events of the day. Today the MSDN Canada Flash newsletter came out and John Bristowe was kind enough to plug our new User Group here in Edmonton. Within about 15 minutes of the newsletter showing up in my inbox, we had received four or five emails through our Contact Us page. It was awesome to see that such a little, and very kind, plug could help the user group out so much.
I’m the Igloo Coder and if you’re coming out to our meeting on the 27th of April, search me out and stop me for a chat.