$25,000 Contest

My employer, Skyway Software, launched a $25,000 developer contest. It's called the Skyway Cup. I'm not a software developer, and it's unfortunatate (for me) that I'm not, because that is a lot of money, especially when I'm paying $4 for a gallon of gas and $4 for a gallon of milk. If you want to check out the contest, please visit the Skyway developer community site located here. And good luck.

Speak with you soon. DC


Embrace Competition...or Disappear

Where better to test your marketing messages and the positioning of your products and services? If they don't hold up after your objective (it has to be an honest assessment) competitive evaluation, why would your customer care about you? If it isn't distinguishing from your competition, then why would your customer switch? Seth Godin (again) writes a very short, but impactful, post and it reminded me that there are few things more important than a comprehensive market anlaysis or an effective product positioning. If these aren't completed correctly or often enough, then it doesn't really matter how strong the Exec Team is, how many features release x.y has, or what the name of the latest strategic partner is.

Don't let the speed of the market distract you from the marketing fundamentals and don't forget to look around every so often to see who is driving beside you (or in front of you) -- your brand will thank you.

Speak with you soon. DC


Trade Shows CAN Work

Yeah, I know, trade shows are so non-digital. Web 0.0, I've been told. But like most things, a good show requires clear goals, a competent team, a sound plan, and crisp execution; if done right, a trade show can be used as a successful tactic in a well-balanced marketing portfolio. Really. No, seriously, we just pulled one off. How?
We used a four-point recipe:

  1. Define the Goals - We learned a lot from a "test show" we participated in only 60 days prior to our most recent show. We knew our messages weren't as interesting (or differentiating), so we missed our goals. But we knew we could do better, so we set even more aggressive targets for our upcoming show.

  2. Assign the Team - We doubled down and brought our best developers to the show. And we redeployed Sales Engineers to create a kick-a** online tutorial in advance of the show. We hired a former PR Rep to help us pitch the company, as well as tie up loose ends logistically.

  3. Develop the Plan - We wrote it down. We bought legos and tshirts to drive traffic to our booth. We comarketed with two key industry heavy hitters -- and we launched a contest. We held weekly progress meetings.

  4. Implement the Activities - We followed the plan, we acted professionally, and we presented confidently, so we represented ourselves as a much bigger company, which helped us tremendously.

Without sharing too many company secrets, I can say comfortably that we drove 10% of the attendees to our booth. 10% of those folks viewed our product demo and more than 50% of them downloaded our product. 10% joined our online community and "a bunch more" agreed to be beta testers of our next release and several (!!!) even agreed to meet with our Sales Team.

If I told you we presented at the largest software show of the year, then you can get a feel for the numbers and quickly see how this performance helped us strengthen our brand and develop qualified leads for our Sales organization. And isnt that the primary goal of the Marketing Department?

But with that said, I'm not signing up for monthly shows, but I will consider doing another show in the very near future.

Let me know what you think?

Speak with you soon. DC


What is Yahoo DOING???

I am disappointed that MSFT walked away from the YHOO table over the weekend. I don't own a single share of either company so its not a financial issue to me, per se. But I buy AdWords and as a digital marketer, I go where the market is. As a buyer of search capability, I really like to have options and choices -- I've been very excited that YHOO has spent so much time on its new version of Panama AMP and Search Monkey to compete directly with GOOG. Seeing that the deal (at least at this point) is done at the $33/sh offer price, well it just doesn't bode well for my marketing portfolio. The last thing I want is YHOO to be working sideway deals to outsource its capability back to its biggest search competitor. If GOOG can't figure out how to capture 100% share (and why can't they?), then the best thing for me about YHOO is that its NOT GOOG!

I guess Ill have to keep a very close eye on Jerry to see how he markets his way out of this mess. If he would just listen to us, his customers, who long for an alternative to GOOG, I think he has the right offering; if only he could find a way to get it to us more effectively. If only I had as many customers as YHOO who actually (and honestly) say what they need and why they need it. Wow, what a problem to have for a startup company like mine! Yahoo's engineers are just as talented as anyone anywhere (really!), so I can't help but wonder how much truth there is in the stories I read and hear that perhaps Jerry and the Yahoo BOD are listening to internal "demons" rather than to us? But then again, I've never batteled directly with MSFT and come to think of it, maybe I do understand a bit more of what Jerry did and why he did. But it's no less disappointing. Do you agree?

Speak with you soon. DC