Call for Shift in the Marketing Paradigm for Enterprise Software
Having been a product manager for the 10+ years for enterprise software, I have always watched and observed how the Product marketing teams handle product launches, their go-to market initiatives and the ongoing marketing programs around the Enterprise software products. It’s always one thing to build a kick ass software product which the market wants but the success of market adoption of the product and the ability of sales team to convert it into positive selling opportunities greatly depends on how the marketing is handled for the product. I see that in the Enterprise software realm more importance is given to the product quality alone (ex. features, packaging, UX, etc) instead on the importance of the product marketing to clearly identify, understand, serve and satisfy the market.
If you look back at Microsoft and what Bill Gates did to take the company to where it is today, Microsoft became the market leader not because of better products they had then but because of better marketing. Look at how consumers are fascinated with Apple products these days. It’s because Apple has done an excellent job in understanding what its consumers want.
We all know that the ultimate marketing secret weapon for all products whether its consumer based products or enterprise software products, is to make the consumers/buyers/customers understand the Unique Selling Proposition(USP) of a product. But as per the old school of thinking the USP always revolves around 4 Ps which is Product, Price, Place & Positioning. Based on my observation of the consumer products and comparing that to Enterprise software products, continuing the USP marketing strategy on the 4P approach for Enterprise software will not been very effective in the long run and definitely needs a paradigm shift.
The paradigm shift around marketing Enterprise software should now involve emphasis from Products to Solutions, Place to Access, Price to Value and Positioning to Education. The new school of thought calls it the SAVE approach of Product Marketing (see the latest Harvard Business Review magazine article “Rethinking the 4 P’s”)
Here is what Product Marketing need to do:
- Instead of focusing on defining the product features start to highlight what are the solutions that buyers/customers can build with the product to address their business issues. This would require a good understanding of the buyer’s persona and what their pain points
- Focus on addressing the end to end experience that the buyer/customer will have to get access to the Product instead of focusing only on the packaging and downloading aspects of the product
- Articulate the benefits that the products will offer by solving their business issue and providing a realistic expectation on the ROI instead of focusing on the price and the competitive differentiators alone.
- Invest in resources that will tailor and provide better education of the product to the buyers so the end to end experience of the product from purchase to deployment to maintenance of the Enterprise software is a pleasant experience for the buyer and the customer that you are targeting in specific markets.
Sooner the Product Marketing team adopts the SAVE way of thinking, the better it would be for the overall growth and success of Enterprise software products!!.