Friday, August 26, 2011

Practicing Software Development Approach in Marketing and Advertising


When developing software, we need to analyze, plan, develop and test real carefully before we put it out to the market. A simple setback at first might require major changes later which could cost a lot of money. The same could happen if an organization does not plan its marketing and advertising approaches carefully. It could spend tremendous amounts of money that leads to a not so promising ROI. So why don’t we use the stages of software development in marketing?

Marketing which is basically the plan the process that works to bring sellers and buyers together sometimes fails to achieve its basic goal. In other words, when a group of people work together to determine what products and services might interest (and well be useful) the company’s customers, that’s marketing. When this group doesn't listen to feedback, that's when it fails.

Sometimes when creating a new product, a service or an offer and after commercializing it, it just doesn't sell. We ask ourselves what’s wrong with what we have planned? It just seemed perfect. Everyone loved this idea when we proposed it. Why do our customers hate it?

The is because the ‘focus group’ factor has been neglected which is crucial in developing a new product or a marketing approach in this case. When we are creating a marketing plan, a product or service we get caught up in our own vision, our limited vision. So we don’t see other perspectives.

The same pitfall happens with advertising. Advertising is the message we send to our customers through different channels (commercials such as on TV, social media, radio and so on) to tell them about our new product or service. Obviously, since the advertising approach is ‘our idea’, it makes perfect sense to ‘us’. But what about the customers, the real people who are actually going to buy and use our new product or service? They don’t have a clue what we were thinking. That just means, the message needs to be concise and clear avoiding any vagueness.

Bottom line is that we need both marketing and advertising to work in regards to the customers’ perspective not the organization’s perspective. How we can achieve that? We can do so by following the basic software development stages. No software is ever launched as Version 1 in the market from the first approach. It doesn’t work that way.

First, we need to do the Pre-alpha version, which is simply putting the software product together before testing by analyzing, designing and developing it. In a marketing or advertising approaches, we need to put our ideas in a structured planned manner first.

Then we move to the Alpha version, which includes the first phase of testing called black box testing. It tests if the software is functioning correctly without being detail oriented. In a marketing or advertising approaches, we could test the waters with our employees. If the company happened to have a huge number of employees then that's a great asset that should never go to waste. How about a simplified prototype or description accompanying a survey? With feedback (focus group from the inside) from the alpha testing, we could adjust some factors. After all, change at first would save tons of money.

Finally, we do the Beta version. In the beta version, we test the software with our loyal customers who would give us feedback out of charge for further enhancement. This phase could be omitted when testing the water in regards to the marketing or advertising approaches for confidentiality reasons. However, some marketing agencies do provide focus groups for such practices. This just means we get confidential honest feedback from people outside our organization and could potentially represent our customers. It is crucial to get responses from the outside to create effective plans and help us think outside the box.

Now we can launch Version 1 of the software or in the marketing or advertising cases, we can execute the plan and go ahead with the commercials ideas.

Image Credits to: Grant Cochrane

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1 comments:

karim.mansour said...

"This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back."
John Ilhan

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