While my recent post about technology launches in internet marketing was met with some nods, agreement and whatnot… later on I felt only one half of the story got told. That’s not right.
So here’s the other side of that sordid story. It reaches back into my past experience in the big time software industry, so bear with me while I parade out some hopefully enlightening parables.
Because part of the reason these big time software launches in internet marketing have met with some resistance, is the fact that we’re starting to look at an entirely different class of software. We’re no longer talking tools, utilities, shrink-wrapped, neat little Air applications or anything like that.
And honestly, the internet marketing indus… sorry, I mean community, just isn’t used to that sort of advanced environments.
It’s software that purports to span the entire scope of an industry, or at least very close to it. In the case of internet marketing, it’s starting to span the entire range from simple squeeze pages to video hosting to upsell flows to membership management… the whole lot.
It honestly gets really complex, really quickly. You need to understand it’s very, very far from shrink-wrapped, general-purpose, open source, or anything like that. Frankly, it’s debatable whether any of it is suitable for one man operations at all.
Similarly, when you’re in the corporate world, buying and implementing enterprise class software, you’re truly going into a different dimension. One inhabited primarily by legions of consultants and coders.
ERP installations and any other industry-wide applications are perilous attempts at control, at best. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. And even when they do, you’ll have to just accept the fact that it takes a lot of maintenance, fine-tuning and whatnot. Simply another task all to itself.
Here’s a fact that just might curdle your stomach if you’re not familiar with the world of advanced software systems.
Did you know that the very plane you stepped on yesterday, last week, or whenever the last time you flew was… that airplane was running software that was UTTERLY BUGGY?!
And yet… it probably all went without a hitch. Why? Because the people involved in running that software have learned how to work around the problems, how to use it knowingly, how to go around the pitfalls.
Also, there’s a reason why in the web 2.0 era every new service got stuck in perpetual beta mode. It signifies a simple fact: software is in constant flux – and online even more so.
A simple fact we all need to keep in mind as we demand more features, better usability and at times utter perfection.
The point being? Advanced, complex software is rarely perfect. It can only look that way.
What Is A Smart Marketer To Do?
Now then… from a marketer’s point of view, this presents some unique challenges for us. How do you market a product that is by definition flawed, incomplete, and ripe with possible nightmare scenarios?
We’ve been down this road before, but Apple has shown a lot of smarts about this particular set of problems.
Whereas the likes of Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft and the other yesteryear stalwarts in the mobile space are getting increasingly bad press as the complexity of smartphones reaches new pinnacles…
Apple does basically the opposite – both in product design and in their marketing. They roll out ONLY features that are ready for prime time – 99% of the time. And they only market features that they KNOW are standout features.
That’s how they can virtually eliminate the negatives, and make every announcement sound like they invented something ground-breaking.
And even when they mess up – like with the whole antennagate thing – they can fall back on those same marketing principles to save the day. Again and again.
If you want a closer look at how in the heck Apple does it, have a gander at my writeup on Apple’s marketing circa iPhone 4 release party.
In the meantime, the internet marketing community is surely moving towards even more enterprise-class software, and the community itself is getting smarter and more demanding.
The solution then, it you’re a smart marketing software provider, is to distinguish what you can promise to work from what you know could work. And choose your battles – both in marketing and in troubleshooting.
And if you’re a customer for these big behemoth class software suites, get educated about what using such software really means, and how to distinguish the software you REALLY need from the glitzy nice-to-haves.
See you on the debug circuits! 😉