DevTopics is a high-level and sometimes satirical look at software development and computer technology. When we occasionally dive into the details, it's usually about C# and .NET programming. DevTopics is written by Timm Martin, a software developer and entrepreneur. (More)
I’m in my third decade of selling software. What’s amazing to me is how much easier it is today to market and sell software over the Web, versus back in the “old days” when we had to mess with disk duplication and mailing, snail mail correspondence, cashing checks and postal orders by hand, and providing support through dialup electronic bulletin boards.
Perhaps the greatest change is how relatively easy it is today to launch an effective global marketing campaign on a limited budget. If you’re selling software that provides true value at a reasonable price, you don’t need a Microsoft-sized budget to reach your potential customers.
So here are a few suggestions for an inexpensive marketing campaign:
AC/DC is an interesting, anachronistic mix of classic rock and modern marketing. The band refuses to sell its extensive music catalog on iTunes or other music services because the band members feel the album is an art form that must be preserved. Yet the band released its new CD exclusively at Wal-Mart. This strategy apparently hasn’t hurt the band much, as it is one of the best-selling bands of all time with over 200 million albums sold.
Now AC/DC has released a new music video as ASCII art delivered in an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a strange but oddly compelling mix of old and new technology:
Social news sites first became popular when Digg.com launched on the Web in 2004. A social news site enables its users to submit news stories and vote on them. The most popular articles percolate to the top of the list and are rewarded with a huge surge in Web traffic. A candid discussion of each article often appears. The most popular social news sites are Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, which recently hit 2 million registered users. DotNetKicks is an excellent social news site for .NET programming.
During my 25 years as a software entrepreneur, I’ve had the pleasure and challenge of selling PC software to three major markets: large enterprises, general consumers, and software developers.
Of course, each target market has its own advantages and disadvantages, which I summarize below. Note this list is from the perspective of a small software company (2-50 employees) with limited funds. Microsoft and Google may hold a different view.