Genii Weblog

Advertising vs. Marketing?

Thu 10 Jul 2003, 10:32 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Ed Brill loves to talk about the difference between advertising and marketing, and I was forced to think about this again today.  We have never advertised our Midas Rich Text LSX, yet it has over 800 thousand licensed client seats (I know, Ed would gripe about using seat wars, but since we have little real competition, what the heck) in 42 countries on six continents.  On the other hand, we do practice a lot of viral marketing, if I can misappropriate the term.  I spend a lot of time (read, way more time than I should), answering posts on various forums on a lot of topics.  Some of these are rich text related, many are not.  I try to help people make the most out of Notes/Domino.  Fairly frequently, the problems they bring up have to do with rich text, and I give them pointers on how to work with it, ideas on workarounds to the most common problems, links to possible solutions, and, last but not least, a "heads up" on what Midas can do for them.  This post is an example.  So far, this approach has been fairly successful (obviously).

So, what's the problem?  Well, our COEX! Links is less well suited to this approach.  The problem it solves for companies who must live with both Exchange and Notes/Domino is easy to explin, the solution offered is simple to explain and simpler to use, but people don't ask for it much because it doesn't seem to even occur to them that there is a solution.  If nobody asks, you can't answer.  Similarly,  I speak at a lot of conferences on rich text issues (among other things), which gives an opportunity to demonstrate Midas, but I haven't found a good conference session yet in which to show COEX! Links, because it would only take about five minutes.  Therefore, if I want to get the word out, I am forced to consider... advertising.  I haven't made the plunge, because I like the model where most of my business comes from personal recommendations, but that is likely to take a couple of years to really build up.  Midas has been on the market since 1997, and has a great head of steam.  COEX! Links has been on the market a few months, and while it has gotten great reviews from those who have bought it, such as this quote:
"Our company has many Lotus Notes\Domino workflow applications that notify users of pending approvals through emails containing Lotus Notes doclinks. When the decision was made to migrate off Lotus Notes email to Exchange email, we needed to find a quick and easy solution to enable our users to access the workflow documents easily within Outlook. Genii's COEX! was the perfect solution. It converts our workflow doclinks into attachments that our Outlook users launch to access Lotus Notes documents with the Lotus Notes client." - Aroon Mital, Senior Domino Developer,Samsung SDS America

Well, that is great, but there are many companies who could use the product right now, and don't even know it exists.  How would you suggest we let them know?  Should we use traditional advertising?  Should we sell Ed Brill on the idea that this would preserve Notes/Domino application licenses by stopping forced migrations when the company goes to Exchange (because of a merger, for example)?  Should we simply wait for the head of steam to build up?

Copyright 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

21.1. Tom Duff
(07/11/2003 07:20 AM)

I understand the quandry... Since you obviously have a solid client base with Midas, could you somehow use that to get the word out on the new product? Do you have periodic newsletters that you send to your clients? If you could make them aware of the software, then perhaps they would be the beginnings of the new viral marketing campaign.

I'd also do some sort of blurb in the BPF (I don't remember seeing anything about this specifically). Once the BPs know that a tool is out there, they are pretty good about recommending it to clients in given situations.