as you might know beside being a techie by heart I have a bit of a marketing job to do. Part of my job is marketing developer content. So I have started to combine two things: Technical thinking with marketing… by the way: Excuse me if I am not using the exact academic terms 🙂
The question was: If you have a group of developers – say in Germany – how can you segment so that you are able to provide optimal service???
First I must do the distinction between marketing and advertising. This is something I always got wrong when I was the guy up on stage.
The process of marketing is can be divided in x distinct phases:
1. A company discovers a need in a market. This is done by observing and listening to potential customers. Most of the times it is just a matter of asking what the customer misses or would do better.
2. Designing a product. With the knowledge of step 1 go back and start to think about the product, be innovative (which means go beyond what have been done so far but stay realistic), try, improve, try again. Why does WD-40 has this name? Because there were 39 prototypes before the final product. The story goes Dyson made thousands of prototypes. My personal favorite is the process of IDEO. Another very important principle was stated by Henry Ford “If I had asked my customers what they had wanted they would have told me “A faster horse carriage”.” Innovation goes a bit beyond what the potential customer can see but not so far that nobody understands what you are talking about.
3. Build he product. You all know this but it may take quite some time.
4. Bring it to the market. This means your potential customers should become aware, understand the benefits and – hopefully in the end – are willing to pay for your product.
4.a. Restart the circle with 1.
4.b. See how the market adopt the product and try to figure out how you can improve the product by using the current version and add simple things to it. Then start with step 4 on this.
This is my definition of marketing. It is the process of building a product and bring it to market. By the way: Advertising is part of marketing but a tiny one. And yes, today’s companies are all about marketing.
While in the recent past marketing understood their role more in an advertiser way. And advertisement was like hammering on the potential customers nerves. The web changed that. And if there is something Google taught me: Their real innovation was combining search with advertisement by making the advertisement a part of the service. The ads are no longer a thing getting on your nerves. You are searching for hotels in Las Vegas? Here are the results and by the way, here are some ads (or sponsored links) by hotels in Vegas.
This changed marketing in a way that it is no longer only a war on eye balls it is about relevancy. If I can make my offering relevant to you, you are about to listen. And maybe you will tell your friend and so on. The first of all I must ensure that the actions I take to market my product must be relevant, then my product must be relevant and last I can beef up the relevancy of my product if I add tools, tricks and stuff on top. This is especially true if your product is a platform product like an OS. So it is all about relevancy.
This step 4.b. ought to be what is keeping or even increase your product’s relevancy between the product cycles. Do not underestimate this. Just because it is a good example, let’s take Windows XP. Say we would have bought a PC in the very first days of XP and would have locked it away. Today we would buy a modern one and compare them in the sense of the OS. There would be a huge difference. Some evergreen apps on the box would still be there but changed appearance dramatically. New apps beefed up the appearance, usability and functionality of the system. Or take FireFox: The plugins are the live blood.
In the web I found what is called behavioral marketing and it made totally sense to me. But I altered the idea a bit to fit my needs.
So my idea is to try to divide your potential customers in groups that have the same behavior. For me behavior means: The same needs, problems, interests, use the same tools. Then put yourself in their shoes and ask: How can I make our offering (the marketing, the product, the services) relevant to them?? I good way to do that is ask them, go out and spend time working along with them etc. Probably you will find that there are groups of people across company sizes or specializations sharing the same needs.
This will give you a good feeling how to build offerings relevant to them. And it is all about relevancy!! Your marketing must support their daily live. It must be aligned to the behaviors of your customers. And so must be the products. Then you can even go a step deeper and make a selection within your offerings. A selection which is unique to each individual based on a profile. For me this is a two step process. First we need to have offerings which are relevant in the first place. And then secondly you can make them even more relevant by filtering out what is only somewhat relevant.
In the end this is nothing more than common sense but this is what this MBA stuff is all about…