Software Pulse

Business Strategy for Software Executives

May 1 , 2006

Tom Hogan

Time for Software Marketing to Grow Up

To improve ROI, software vendors must switch to sales-based – rather than product-based – marketing.

By Tom Hogan, Catapult Direct

Despite being in its thirties, high-tech marketing is still an industry in its adolescence. And like any adolescent, it’s unsure of where it wants to go but knows better than anyone else how to get there.

Part of the problem is the crowd that Marketing runs with. Marketing hangs out almost exclusively with “Product Guys” – not salespeople. Product Guys are like those guys who go on first dates and talk endlessly about themselves. Finally, as the evening wanes and the date is utterly bored, they smile engagingly and say, “But enough about me.  Let’s talk about things I like to do…”

For these Product Guys, it’s all about “The Product” and its capabilities.  On sales calls, when talking about The Product, they just can’t stop. “But enough about the features, let’s talk specs...”

The campaigns Marketing creates based on interactions with Product Guys and these bad, first date-style conversations are some of the most unoriginal and uninspiring in history. But this problem persists because the people picking up the marketing tabs are, by and large, technologists in love with their own technology. They and their Marketing departments share the belief that their products are so unique and meaningful that they don’t need to be marketed, just explained.

Wrong. If customers were ever inspired or motivated by the tech-speak IT marketers have force-fed them all these years, they aren’t anymore. Jaundiced by years of blue screens and having to kluge together their own “solutions,” buyers have discovered the hard way that the best technology doesn’t always carry the day, that pioneers don’t always make the best providers, and that “second to market” is often a strategic advantage rather than a badge of disgrace.


Get the News of the Week

Don’t miss’s weekly news summary. Every Friday, editors compile the most important software news of the week and deliver readers a quick capsule of the week’s developments. Read this week’s news summary – Mega Moves: Sun, CA, Microsoft and other big names topped a week of big news for the software industry.  

Why, Sanjay? Why?

After former CEO Sanjay Kumar pled guilty to leading a $2.2 billion accounting fraud at CA, Steve W. Martin looks at the facts in the case and offers reasons why such incidents of revenue fraud are inherent in the software business. Read his analysis in this week’s post to the Blog on Software Intrigue.

Rethinking Your Channel Strategy

As customers rethink the way they buy technology, major vendors such as IBM and Microsoft are rethinking the way they sell it via partner organizations. Allan Adler and Dylan Charles of Crimson Consulting Group say software vendors need to reexamine the deployment of their channel marketing resources in this week’s post to the new Blog, Best Practices: Channel Management.

Publish Your Perspectives!

The Blog wants your opinions. Send your thoughts on the enterprise software industry to and we’ll publish them in our blog.

New Videos from Software 2006!

Every week, new content from the Software 2006 conference appears at Online this week: video of key speakers, slides from popular presenters and the Software 2006 Industry report from McKinsey & Co. and Sand Hill Group. Visit each week for more new conference content.

How Is Your Services Business Performing?

Measuring the performance of a services business is more difficult than it is to monitor manufacturing results – but it isn’t impossible. The McKinsey Quarterly examines what it takes to effectively analyze services productivity and improve performance in this week’s article from the journal.

Poll: Software’s Image Tarnished?

How will the former CA execs’ guilty pleas impact the reputation of the software industry with enterprise buyers?
Take our Pulse Poll >>

Last week, readers gave their opinions as to whether China’s presidential visit to Microsoft will impact software piracy in China.
Give us your opinion and see the results >>

SIIA Software Strategy Summit

Geoffrey Moore, Ann Winblad, Tien Tzuo, Stephen O'Leary and Russ Daniels headline the Software & Information Industry Association’s Software Strategy Summit, where you’ll learn how to leverage changes in the industry brought on by SaaS, Open Source, Offshoring, and Security. Save $200 today when you register for this important event to be held May 15-16, 2006 in San Francisco.

More at

Oracle unveils its first on-demand CRM release.
Read the most important enterprise software industry news of the week >>

CapeClear Software receives $15 million.
Monitor the latest software venture capital deals >>

RSA Security buys PassMark Security.
Size up last week's software M&A deals >>

Avvenu names Richard French as CEO.
See who's made it to the top in our list of recent software executive appointments >>

Send us your feedback on this newsletter and the site.

Parting Thought

“It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”
– W. Edwards Deming 

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group