You call this marketing?

I’ve been in marketing in the software business for longer than I like to admit. I used to believe that software marketing was a particularly difficult task because the technology changes so quickly and there wasn’t a lot of institutional experience to be shared. But that was before the Internet. Software marketers today have no excuse for being lousy at their jobs. Yet, there seems to be a whole lot of incompetence out there. Let me share my recent story…

We recently decided to look for a new web analytics package. Like most people who research a purchase these days, I went to the web and did a Google search and started browsing websites.

I was astonished at the number of sites offering web analytics that wouldn’t even let me see a data sheet without registering on their site! Oh my, what year do they think this is?

For all you marketers out there, we are now in the 2000s, and products are, and should be, easy to find on the web. I found several web analytics packages with data sheets and on-line demos that are completely accessible. By having access to this information, I could make an intelligent decision about which products I wanted to analyze further in my process of evaluation. In my early stages, I’m not about to register on 10 different sites just to see a data sheet. Just what are these companies hiding? Surely with Google Analytics breathing down their necks these companies should be reaching out to prospects – not driving them away!

BTW, I should mention how well LiveBinders works for this task of researching products. I just bookmarked the products that I wanted to review and made several notes alongside each site. I even included the products that I’m not interested in so that I don’t waste time looking at them again.

I would love to hear anyone’s opinions of ClickTracks Pro, VisiStat, or other web analytics recommendations – especially for a social networking site.

Here is the binder that I have started for this research:

It is a vast wasteland out there…

My dad used to say that about TV (and with the writer’s strike, it couldn’t be more true!) A talented writer in his own right, he unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see the Internet take off. But, if he had lived to see it, he would have been both delighted by the access to information and appalled by the abysmal writing on so many of the websites out there.

It is a lot of work to present information clearly, concisely, and then to make it compelling on top of that. I just saw this delightful quote from Seth Godin:

“Nobody learns everything all at once. The story has to begin with something compelling enough that you want to learn more about the story. The mistake marketers make is that they tell all the story at once, take it or leave it. People need to realize they have to ensure a unfolding dialogue.” – Seth Godin from this article:

Isn’t this the perfect thought when you think about writing for a website? Writing for a website is an art that not enough of us have mastered!

So, the LiveBinder below is my contribution to cleaning up the mess. If you write for a website, please promise me you will read at least one of these articles. I promise you that I will continue to reread them until the words on my websites are polished and sparkle like little gems!

When I sent this LiveBinder to my dear friend Kaye McKinzie (who is a fabulous writer), she wrote back:”Wow..This is amazing!! What I learned in 20 minutes gives me an entire skill set. Remarkable!”