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Rick Chapman excerpts...

Just thought I'd point out there's a number of excerpts from his book on the website...

http://www.aegis-resources.com/Product_Marketing_Handbook_Exc/product_marketing_handbook_exc.html

One in particular is an interesting list of negotiation tactics.

Edward
Monday, April 19, 2004

I have read all the excerpts and found the book quite useless. It's a collection of stories and anecdotes.

What I need is a book to answer this question:

"I am a small software company.

What can I do to market my products?

Which marketing methods are effective, and which are less effective?

How much does each marketing method cost?

What should I make sure of before applying each method?"

Jackson
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I hope that was tongue in cheek Jackson.

No one can really answer those questions except you, and maybe your direct competitors as the answer depends entirely on your market.

Steve Barbour
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Jackson - tried Eric Sink's articles at MSDN?


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++I have read all the excerpts and found the book quite useless. It's a collection of stories and anecdotes.+++

No, it is not.  The Hbook is 690 pages of very detailed narrative discussing the nuts and bolts of software marketing and sales.  There are no "anecdotes."  The case studies deal with actual events, outcomes, and information on what worked in the process and what didn't.

+++What can I do to market my products?+++

The book covers precisely those topics.

+++Which marketing methods are effective, and which are less effective?+++

Detailed and up-to-date information on current best practices are covered in the book (and backed up by very extensive checklists that breakdown the tasks you must  perform).

+++How much does each marketing method cost?+++

Appendix A of the book contains a detailed breakdown of the costs of approximately 300 marketing methods organized by category.  This template is also available as an Excel spreadsheet contained on the CD that comes with the book.  The CD also contains a simple budget teamplate you can use to get a start on managing your expenditures.

+++What should I make sure of before applying each method?" +++

You should make sure you read the book so that you understand the context of the tasks you must perform.  The Hbook discusses marketing software in different categories and segments  and points out where you may need to put increased emphasis.  For instance, game companies don't usually have to worry about creating white papers; companies selling "enterprise" class products do.

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Jackson, are you sure you're not confusing the book "In Search of Stupidity" (which is just a bunch of anecdotes, albeit funny ones) with the book I recommended today?

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rick says that the book contains real information about marketing the software.

However, from the excerpts on the web site (I have read all of them), it doesn't seem to be so.

This means that either:

1) The book doesn't contain useful information about marketing software
  or
2) Rick chose the least useful parts from the book for excerpts. In other words, the book is poorly marketed.

Jackson
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++However, from the excerpts on the web site (I have read all of them), it doesn't seem to be so.+++

The excerpts include case studies, specific information on the Open Source market, suggestions on how to staff your trade show booth, pricing strategies, etc, etc, etc.  Looks like there's a fairly nice batch of info there.

If you're looking for exerpts that specifically apply to your specific product, sorry, not possible.  (Or at least not lucky; I can't excerpt everything.)

Sorry about that!

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I am uncomfortably aware that anything I say in this thread will either market this book or provide Rick an opportunity to market it... but I like to remark on books, so anyway.. ;)

I like these really sneaky books:  "Be sure that your technical personnel have been trained on proper booth strategy.  Programmers and support people tend to be forthright; overheard at a show we attended, 'You won’t believe some of the bugs we fixed in this release and there are still a couple of winners in there.'"  It is so non-credible when people claim techies are particularly prone to sniping or politics.  Nonprotectionist sure, but not malicious.

Nice excerpt about haggling's moves and countermoves.  Reminds me of those video games where you seriously have to combat fighing cows, for some reason.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Mr Chapman :

I'm looking for tips & advice for successfully marketing shareware product.

I'm a one man band!

Can you book help me in my solo venture.
(I'm a programmer, I've no experience in Marketing, Sales, PR)

Snacky

Snacky
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++I'm looking for tips & advice for successfully marketing shareware product.

I'm a one man band!+++

The book has a section on shareware distribution in the channel chapter, as well as info on TBYB approaches.  Also, while Joel's products are not shareware, I'd study his TBYB tactics and advice carefully.

I'd also read the discussion on communities in the book; they can be quite useful in building interest in a product.  Also check out the Association of Shareware Professionals; they have a lot of info on this model.  They have a show this summer in beautiful upstate NY in...Rochester, I think.

Also, I'd consider carefully whether you want to be a shareware company.  There have been some notable successes, but most companies in the shareware space are small and stay that way.  I'd consider using TBYB tactics and emphasize trying to sell your products, not give them away in the hope that someone will decide to pay you.  I give stats on the "fulfillment" rates for different classes of shareware products in the Hbook.

Please understand I don't know anything about your product so I'm not in a posiiton to say more.

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What TBYB means ?

Snacky
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Sorry. "Try before you buy."

There's a glossary in the Handbook that provides definitions of common terms and acronyms used in software marketing and sales.

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004


I thought "Try before you buy" method is based on the ShareWare model.

what's the difference between TBYB and regular shareware ?
The price ?

A shareware will typically cost $30 and a TBYB app > $400

Snacky
Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Rick :

BTW I've purchase your 2 books, I'm waiting for them :-)

Snacky
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++I thought "Try before you buy" method is based on the ShareWare model.+++

Not necessarily.  Many "retail" or higher-end companies provide fully operational versions of their product that work for X period of time before they shut down, or partially crippled versions that allow you to sample some of a product's functionality.  Microsoft, for instance, just sent me a CD with 2K Server on it; it works for 60 days before shutting down.

Classically, shareware products are fully functional products you are encouraged to pay for if you like them.  Many incorporate nag systems that urge you to buy, but the product continues to function.

+++A shareware will typically cost $30 and a TBYB app > $400 ++

Most shareware products typically cost under $99.95; there are exceptions, of course.

TBYB approaches are applied to a wide variety of products and  price points, though it is fairly rare to see a TBYB eval that cost more than $5K (single unit, list price).

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rick, did you do the web design for aegis resources too?

;-D

Eric Debois
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++Rick, did you do the web design for aegis resources too?+++

It's a template.  Everybody LOVES templates, or so I've been told.

Don't like the template?  Argue with the designer!

(I note that everyone hates everyone else's web site.)

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rick :

Do you think making video game for HandHelds (PDAs, SmartPhone) could be a lucrative business

Simple games like those you could purchases :

www.astraware.com

Do you think there are still opportunites or the market is already saturated?

__ IceMan __
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++Do you think making video game for HandHelds (PDAs, SmartPhone) could be a lucrative business+++

Yes,  I do.  People are increasingly looking at games on their PDAs as source of entertainment.  Lots of bored people in airline terminals these days.

+++Do you think there are still opportunites or the market is already saturated? +++

No, I believe this is a developing market and there are many interesting opportunities out there.

I don't claim to know how this will all turn out, but the gaming market is experiencing continued strong growth and is appealing to an increasingly older cohort of males.  Online gaimg, which might integrate nicely with handheld devices, is growing steadiy.  In a sense, an Internet success story!

(I make this point in the Hbook.)

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I thought the difference between shareware and try before you buy was that you could distribute shareware yourself, whereas TBYB needs to come directly from the company.

For example, Wolfenstein 3D was shareware.  I could try it out, and if I liked it, I could register it.  Additionally, I can _share_ it with a friend, so he can try it as well.

On the other hand, CityDesk is TBYB.  There's a trial version so I can see if I like it before I pay, but if my friend wants to try it he'll need to get his own copy from Fog Creek, instead of just copying mine.

That seems to be a more logical definition than the presence of nag screens or time limits.

Emperor Norton
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

+++I thought the difference between shareware and try before you buy was that you could distribute shareware yourself, whereas TBYB needs to come directly from the company.+++

There are companies that specialize in shareware "distribution."

+++For example, Wolfenstein 3D was shareware.  I could try it out, and if I liked it, I could register it.  Additionally, I can _share_ it with a friend, so he can try it as well.+++

I'm believe that you were given X number of levels and had to buy the product to obtain the right to kill numerous aliens with BFGs.  At least this is the model that ID carried out with Doom.  This is a variant of a TBYB approach.

+++On the other hand, CityDesk is TBYB.  There's a trial version so I can see if I like it before I pay, but if my friend wants to try it he'll need to get his own copy from Fog Creek, instead of just copying mine.+++

Cdesk is not shareware, no.  As I said, the classic shareware model, pioneered by A. Flugelman with PC Talk, left the issue of whether/when to pay in the hands of the user.

rick

Rick Chapman
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rick, I think that you are getting the shareware/try before you buy thing wrong.

In my opinion, they are 2 different terms for absolutely the same thing - their meaning is completely equivalent.

It doesn't matter what the meaning of shareware was many years ago, when the concept was invented.

99% of the products that are shareware today have time limitations (30 days trial periods), nag screens, or some features are disabled in the shareware version.

So, the term "shareware" is completely equivalent to "try before you buy"

I think the TBYB term was invented by business people who didn't want their product to be associated with the term "shareware". I think this was a good idea because at the time "shareware" became associated with "software any small company can release, and because of this it can be of low quality".

It was a good marketing move, however, the terms are equivalent in all ways.

What you probably wanted to say is something like:

"Don't market your software as a very small company who doesn't know a lot about marketing. Market your software like a large company who knows a lot about marketing".

Jackson
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

+++Rick, I think that you are getting the shareware/try before you buy thing wrong.+++

I don't think so.  These concepts were developed many years ago and there's not much controversy surrounding them.

+++In my opinion, they are 2 different terms for absolutely the same thing - their meaning is completely equivalent.+++

I don't see how you can argue that.  MS is hardly a shareware company, but they just sent me a CD with a fully functioning server product that stops working after 60 days.

+++It doesn't matter what the meaning of shareware was many years ago, when the concept was invented.

+++99% of the products that are shareware today have time limitations (30 days trial periods), nag screens, or some features are disabled in the shareware version.+++

Then they're not shareware.  Yes, people tend to misuse the word, but I ignore these little faux pas because I'm a big-hearted kind of guy!

+++I think the TBYB term was invented by business people who didn't want their product to be associated with the term "shareware". I think this was a good idea because at the time "shareware" became associated with "software any small company can release, and because of this it can be of low quality".+++

There's a certain truth to that, but there are plenty of companies releasing products using the classic shareware model.  If they do, they are shareware firms.  If you have to pay after X period
of time or can't use X feature, you are not a shareware company.

And there are plenty of people out there who will argue passionately that the traditional shareware model is a good one and are not ashamed in the least with being associated with shareware.  But the fact is that it's difficult, though not impossible, to grow a company using this model.

+++"Don't market your software as a very small company who doesn't know a lot about marketing. Market your software like a large company who knows a lot about marketing". +++

I avoid large, portentous statements like that.  I say "sell your product in mass quantities using the most effective methods available."  (I also then sneak in a reference to The Product Marketing Handbook for Software!)

rick

Rick Chapman
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

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