Posted by: wingnut650 | March 24, 2009

Marketing Maintenance – considerations in a down economy

I think the title of this blog posting is actually a double entendre – how neat!  Anyway, what is “meant” by marketing maintenance is actually promoting the support and maintenance that comes with a purchased product.  Specifically, as we work for a software company, what kind of resources could/should be put into marketing the support that our employer offers with the purchase and ongoing of our products?  From a sales perspective,  we always stress to our reps that the support and maintenance that Quest provides to its customers is really one of the best things about being a Quest customer and that they should feel VERY comfortable blowing that horn (and frankly this support is truly ‘world class’).  In todays economy it’s important to distinguish yourself in every way and support and maintenance interactions, where relationship management and domain expertise are crucial, are where we can distinguish ourselves in spades.  At this point, depending on our sales teams to be the only mouth piece promoting this aspect of what we do for our customers will probably have to change to a degree.  So, marketing maintenance could be something we try to do as the year progresses.

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Posted by: wingnut650 | March 18, 2009

Twitter as a marketing tool?

As a fairly new user to Twitter and building up my ‘follower’ list (27 and counting, woo hoo!), it’s interesting to think of how it can be used for marketing purposes.  It was NOT my intention to use Twitter for marketing, not at all, but since most of the people that I follow (and most of those that follow me) are actually in the target audience that 2blokes currently works to get to.  The funny thing is it really wasn’t a planned that way originally.  The way I look at these folks is more as people that I want to communicate with and have some kind of ‘friendly’ relationship with…this is odd in that many I’ve never actually met in person before.  Anyway, marketing to these folks doesn’t seem very palatable to me – at least in the traditional sense.  So pursuing a more soft touch with anything I would want to promote to my small but growing twitter community seems like the appropriate way to go…I mean, it seems too easy to end up sounding like an Amway salesman if you are inappropriate.

By the way, I’m @wingnut650 in the Twittersphere.

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Posted by: wingnut650 | March 16, 2009

Finding your blog voice

Something that has been weighing on both me and my co-blogger is that we have frankly sucked at keeping our blog active with new posts.  The fact that we are in marketing and our focus lately has been working with bloggers helping to create new online content, while we ourselves have been slack at it is somewhat ridiculous.  It’s not like we don’t have conversations in any given hour of any given day that would translate into posts.  Laziness?  Yes, a good part of it.  But another piece of it is the crucial ‘finding your voice’ component of being a blogger.  Using your own voice and not what you feel your readers (if are lucky enough to have any) want to hear is key to being able to continue posting fresh content.  This isn’t something new at all, but something that is actually somewhat hard to put into practice…at least for us apparently. 
If your ‘voice’ is crass and likely un-politically correct, then it’s probably good to make sure that you post as much as possible and be yourself with reckless abandon and two sites that I feel do a great job of this are BaconBitsAndBytes and The Bloggess.  Two of my personal fav’s.

So, here’s to a renewed effort to consistently putting our ‘voice’ out on our blog.

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Posted by: chasker | January 8, 2009

What Pain? I don’t feel your pain!

Christian Hasker [2:08 PM]:
How was sales training andy?
Andy Grant [2:08 PM]:
i’m not really sure. having to be on the end of a phone and trying to listen to how reps are taking something in is really not a good way to gauge
Christian Hasker [2:08 PM]:
Personally I was amazed that no-one seemed to understand basic pains that our solutions solve
Christian Hasker [2:09 PM]:
How can you sell something effectively without a good understanding of the pains?
Andy Grant [2:09 PM]:
You can’t. also, the lack of questions along with the lack of understanding of the pains is a bit unnerving.
Christian Hasker [2:10 PM]:
What do we do about it?
Andy Grant [2:10 PM]:
Is following up with sales tools – like updated ‘what sells’ documents the answer to that?
Christian Hasker [2:10 PM]:
I think we need to listen in on some actual calls and then quiz reps directly afterwards
Christian Hasker [2:11 PM]:
and from that produce a ‘most common pains’ doc
Andy Grant [2:11 PM]:
unfortunately (or fortunately, i can’t really tell what’s right here) our presales consultants should be who we focus on first since they’re the ones driving the deals
Christian Hasker [2:11 PM]:
I think that’s a flawed approach though
Christian Hasker [2:11 PM]:
pre-sales consultants ‘shouldn’t’ drive the deals; that’s what sales reps should do; consultants should help drive the proof of concept around the pains the rep has identified
Andy Grant [2:12 PM]:
let’s look at our performance management training section. that was primarily aimed at getting the reps to book a demo with only a high level understanding of the products that service performance management so that the SC’s could drive the discussion.
Christian Hasker [2:12 PM]:
yes
Andy Grant [2:13 PM]:
but i am afraid that the reps will, in practice, just get the demo booked without uncovering enough pain or detail about the account or opportunity – THIS is where a tool like a demo checklist really should be introduced.
Christian Hasker [2:14 PM]:
I agree – in fact the consultant shouldn’t even agree to the demo without a more detailed understanding of the account
Andy Grant [2:14 PM]:
absolutely
Christian Hasker [2:14 PM]:
that way they can tailor the demo to the specific pains
Andy Grant [2:15 PM]:
so, then introducing the checklist is a logical ‘next step’ for us in regard to our performance management tools.

Posted by: chasker | September 18, 2008

Get Thee a Marketing Strategy!

We are learning the importance of this lesson on a daily basis.

Lately our BU has found ourselves rejoicing in the fact that we have a well defined marketing strategy this year. Is it a great marketing strategy? Only time will tell, but at least we have one and have implemented the metrics to be able to gauge whether or not the strategy is successful.

As I talk to some of my colleagues I am surprised by the lack of a cohesive marketing strategy in other areas of the business. Marketing is something that everyone has an opinion on – we are surrounded by it so much, and people with no knowledge of the inner workings and underlying processes of marketing seem to pride themselves on being experts. These same people tend to put tremendous pressure to change the strategy. However, what they are really focused on changing are the tactics and usually the most visible of tactics – what kinds of ads are you running, where are you running them etc. etc.

Listen to these people yes, but don’t act on their recommendations unless they will help the overall strategy that you have defined and increase the chance of hitting the metrics that you have put in place to gauge the success of the strategy. If you keep chasing tactics all you will ever end up with is a bunch of tactics, and a bunch of tactics does not equal a strategy.

Posted by: wingnut650 | September 15, 2008

Media Plan Mayhem

Adding another responsibility to the Cheesecake Factory sized plate of product marketing at Quest Software, we are now taking on facets of managing the media plan for our business unit.  I am absolutely not complaining about this, by the way.  Handling this component of our overall marketing plan is really exciting and an opportunity for product marketing to move a step closer to those media outlets that we figure to be the most effective for us moving forward.  Since I personally have no experience managing media relationships, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do to screw it up 🙂 – just kidding.
This move actually falls into line with how we’ve seen PMM (product marketing management) work in relation to the SQL Server market.  PMM has always been close to the front line of their respective market at Quest having constant communication with customers, prospects, analysts and even competitor contacts, but this is an area that is somewhat new.  By being front line in communication with these outlets and allowing our contacts to provide a bit of a consultative relationship in regard to our activities, I *think* we will be more nimble in making available appropriate messaging and assets that will resonate with the SQL Server community.  We’ll see, very excited.

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Posted by: chasker | September 5, 2008

Graphics in eCards

Andy blogged about masthead graphics a while ago, and that debate rages on with little consensus. This is a bit different though. Our campaign management team recently ran an A/B test recently using a button on half and a screenshot on half.

Personally I did not expect the difference in metrics that we saw from the test:
Ecard to attendees
10.71% CTR with button
19.28% CTR with screen shot

Posted by: chasker | August 20, 2008

Four Marketing Lessons

That time of year is upon us where we start looking ahead to next year and also tweaking anything we can on the backend of this year. Mainly though we focus on the question: what’s our marketing strategy for 09 going to look like?

08 has been a great learning curve for us. In hindsight there is nothing that we would have done differently, because we have learned some valuable lessons. But for next year we need to apply those valuable lessons.

Lesson Number 1: Getting sales’ buy-in to the strategy up front doesn’t mean they won’t start acting like Leonard from Memento six months in.
Lesson Number 2: Content may well be king, but not if no-one’s pushing it and therefore no-one’s reading it.
Lesson Number 3: Objective data is nigh on impossible to get in marketing, but try to get it you must. Good one from this last month – ‘So many people find our naming conventions confusing’ – errrr…no they don’t. (I’ll post more about this one after a Customer Advisory Board session we are having next week).
Lesson Number 4: Revenue’s up up up – it’s the product and sales. Revenue’s down down down – it’s the product, sales and marketing.

Posted by: wingnut650 | August 14, 2008

Can you see me now? No? Bad…sort of

Had in interesting discussion with one of my coworkers today about our corporate website (www.Quest.com) and its lack of compatibility with mobile devices.  We both have different flavors of blackberry and we both attempted to view our website – it was terrible.  Then we went and checked out our competitors websites and, fortunately – I think, saw that their websites also looked really poor on the blackberry.  *One interesting note, one of these competitors even has a product that is made FOR mobile devices*.

Anyway, my comment was about how our website looks awful on a mobile device today and that this is an issue that should be resolved in the next two years.  The thought behind this is that *I* believe that businesses have a few years of lag time before a smooth user experience is going to be critical on a mobile device.  My coworker, on the other hand, completely disagreed and felt that this improved user experience is something that we need to have available now.  Since I don’t think there’s much research being done on mobile devices into corporate software purchases today, I really feel having this resolved in the near-ish term is an option that is reasonable.  Does having a software company website easily viewable on a mobile device give it a competitive advantage?  IMO, not for the software that we’re selling…yet.  Is this a requirement that Quest is going to have to comply with in the future?  I do think so – especially with the evolution of the mobile device for business users.  They’re essentially hand held computers and continue to be a critical link between the business user and…well…their business, which is primarily done online and on the phone, voila, blackberry and iphone to the rescue. 
So, while I think having the website optimized for a mobile device is not something we (Quest) especially need today…if this post still reflects the state of the Quest website in two years, I’ll eat my blackberry. 

Not really.

Posted by: wingnut650 | August 11, 2008

Taking one for the team

Recently I was able to learn a lesson on the definition of ‘team player’ (in a professional setting).  Until this recent moment in time, I have been working under the definition of team player as “someone that works within a team framework by performing their function to the best of their ability and assists when another part of the team requires said assistance”.  Pretty simple, I guess.  Well, I was really not thinking very deeply about this – and I’m someone that has spent a good number of years on sports teams, business teams, etc., so I feel like I should clearly notice when someone is not playing for the “team”.  Something I try to do when working with any group that is designed to function as a team (especially with my current team, which small, so even EASIER) is to make sure that I’m communicating the activities and initiatives that I have going on with the group.  And there’s where my working definition of ‘team player’ took a nose dive – I never thought to include “and communicates clearly and effectively with the team”.  Wow.  Maybe I’ve just been taking this part for granted and also have been lucky to not have had noticeable issues when a team member did NOT communicate clearly and effectively…that is until the last few weeks.  Then I noticed.  In retrospect, it’s amazing how easy it should have been for this individual to take advantage of very open lines of communication…but didn’t.  This person has left our group, but their inability to (or conscious decision not to) communicate with our team really has left us with some issues – thankfully small – that have been bubbling up over the last few weeks.  If there’s a silver lining to this it’s that the communication aspect of ‘team player’ is now something I will make sure I’m being extremely conscious of – especially with myself.

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