Next Thursday, Don Hazell, EVP at Rally Software Development, will discuss the importance of using a Software as a service (SaaS) business model in customer-focused software companies. Don will orient his talk to appeal to sales and marketing professionals, which excites me. I hope to learn new ways of communicating these benefits with customers as well as pick up a few new technical terms and acronyms. It is always fun to pretend to understand what the developers are talking about as we congregate around the keg.
We, as marketers, create need. No matter how persuasive the advertisement or how catchy the jingle, if the need is not there the product will not sell. So, the first thing we must do as marketers is create need. We have to make the customer aware of a problem they never knew they had or even better make them worry about a problem they don't have (this is called expanding the target market). I saw a commercial last night for a prescription drug that fights sleepiness. Apparently, if you are tired you have a disease and need to take this drug. Forget sleep! Take this drug to cure the disease of sleep! First they create a need and then they bring forth product that will fill that need.
I have a 4 month old and I am the Uncle of a 4 year old. Toy companies do this better than anyone else. It is easy to create need in a toddler. Kids don't want toys – they need toys. Create a need, any need and make it compelling enough for people to believe and you will be successful.
I went to see Seth Godin speak with a couple of co-workers today at the University of Denver. Besides being eloquent, witty, and intelligent, he struck me as a normal guy (not ordinary). His personal anecdotes were related from a man that encounters the same problems we do everyday. However, Seth has an uncanny knack for pulling the mundane out of the mundane. This, in fact, was the main point of his talk – be remarkable. Live on the edges and make people talk about you.
The challenge for us is how to transfer that to a serviceable business model. How can we make web conferencing, a commodity in itself, remarkable enough for people to want to talk about us? One step in that direction is our web seminar series which provides practical solutions for real business problems that our customers are facing. Make your customers smart and they will talk about you.
Our next web seminar, Reducing the Risk of Losing Strategic Accounts, is next Thursday, April 19th. Sales, marketing and C-level professionals may particularly benefit from this discussion. Miller Heiman executives Nattalie Hoch and Sharon Williams will teach us how to manage our customer assets and evaluate the health of those relationships.