Posted: May 12th, 2009 | Author: Tom Lewis | Filed under: AdWords, Google, SEO | Tags: Advertising, AdWords, Dharmesh Shah, entrepreneurship, HubSpot, marketing, OnStartups, SEO | 1 Comment »
I’m a big fan of Dharmesh Shah’s OnStartups blog, and his company HubSpot, I’ve used their capable and elegant service to improve businesses I’ve worked at and consulted for. I’ve had the privilege to see Dharmesh speak on a couple of occasions as well as talk to him personally. While I can appreciate the founder-focused perspective of OnStartups, I was disappointed to read his latest post which had elements that displayed a far too stereotypical technologist slant against advertising, and therefore marketing.
Technologists (with blinders on) have the view that anything that isn’t contributing to the actual production of their product or service is a negative. They tend to look at money spent on anything other than production salary, equipment, and software as money down the drain. They seek to eliminate all that “wasteful” spending. Obviously they are making a product so good, that is should sell itself. Any adjustment to features should result in the same customer base coming back to the cash register to fork over more money because the product, by its very nature, telepathically communicates to all parties who have either the interest or the potential interest, that this is the product they need right now.
Dharmesh states, “I still don’t like advertising. I really don’t. I can see why it’s important in a lot of industries — but I don’t know that software is one of them.” The irony here is that, a. Dharmesh’s company does advertise using Google AdWords among other tools, and b. that Dharmesh’s company, HubSpot, is 100% dependent upon advertising in order to survive. HubSpot’s platform helps businesses by improving their websites using search engine optimization and keyword strategy under the premise that a company should attract potential customers using these inbound and permission marketing techniques rather than “interruption” and attention exploitation of standard marketing and advertising.
The problem is that all of the search engines, with the partial exception of Microsoft’s, are 100% advertising-driven. Without advertising, there would be no search engines, and therefore no HubSpot. Advertising is what changed the world from agrarian societies to what we have today. While it isn’t perfect, no one has figured out anything better – they’ve only proposed refinements. There are plenty of producers, and particularly software developers, who think that their products need no advertising because they (Dharmesh again) “solv(e) a user’s problem”. The user has a need, the software addresses the need, a sale is made.
Dharmesh, it’s time to read some Paco Underhill. People don’t buy based on “need” – they buy based on “want”. There is also the false notion in B2B sales that you are working to sell to “companies”, “organizations”, and “business entitities” (my quotes). Sorry, those are all manned by people who still buy based on “want” and other emotional reasons. Advertising is a method to communicate to people reasons, attitudes, positioning, and availability in order that they should want to buy your products. Some of this is non-quantifiable (at this time). We don’t have enough data and understanding to make this coldly scientific enough for some technologists to grasp. I tend to think it’s part of the fun of being a human being.
If I may loosely quote Peter Drucker, “successful entrepreneurship is the combination of innovation and marketing” – advertising is a tool that should not be denied the marketer. Inbound marketing is extremely effective but it can’t do everything. Even noted Google AdWord wizard, Perry Marshall, was forced to admit last year in a podcast that it can’t all be done with SEO and AdWords – those are just two of the legs of the stool.
Posted: November 18th, 2008 | Author: Thomas Attila Lewis | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot, OnStartups | No Comments »
I love the kind of evangelism that Dharmesh Shah, of HubSpot fame, broadcasts in his OnStartups blog. His post today is a classic one, “Wimps Wait, Revolutionaries Release Early”. His exhortation is to pump out your software as soon as you can, and that waiting until it is “perfect” is a mistake. I completely agree with that opinion when it is applied to web-based software where you are in direct control of the web server where the application is deployed.
Sure, there’s the fact that the end users might be inconvenienced by performance issues and they will have to deal with you rolling out features that are not ready for prime time, but you will be getting users and that’s what Dharmesh is talking about. But what kind of end users are we talking about? If the kind of software we’re talking about is desktop based and if it’s meant for business users, you are not involving just that end user anymore – there’s an entire IT infrastructure that will be getting involved either to prevent potential end users from downloading your software in the first place, to castigating your end users if your software causes them enough problems to have ot call up the IT staff. IT folks don’t want anything coming into their, wait for it, ecosystem that results in more calls to the IT desk.
Let’s say your target users are actual IT staff – ok, this is where you really have to be careful. No IT administrator is going to put your software into their live environment if it isn’t vetted. They should have staging servers to test out anything they are considering pushing into production. This can work out well for you even if your software is still in beta but has “good bones”. But the basics have to be there: your download process, licensing, and installation have to be solid because they know that’s what they will be dealing with when your software is ready. Let’s be realistic though, who knows of an IT department out there that isn’t underwater with service desk requests and an ongoing upgrade schedule. Your product had better be pretty good, and as revolutionary as Dharmesh suggests it should be. Then you’ll a much better chance of getting those covetted early users.
Posted: October 3rd, 2008 | Author: Tom Lewis | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Crayon, Greg Verdino, HubSpot, IMS08 | No Comments »
I covered the HubSpot-sponsored Inbound Marketing Summit ‘08 (#IMS08) for Bostonist and it was there that I met the very friendly and funny Greg Verdino of Crayon. I only managed to catch the beginning of his presentation before I had to dash for an interview but HubSpot made the entire presentation available and Greg has now posted it on his blog.
Greg’s informative and humorous presentation outlined how the web of social networks is pervasive and should be embraced by organizations who want to be successful. Adapting to how people want to work and how these are both convenient, efficient, and collaborative is a theme throughout his presentation – it’s well worth watching.
Posted: September 26th, 2008 | Author: Tom Lewis | Filed under: Google, Google Analytics | Tags: Google, Google Analytics, HubSpot, ProMarketers | No Comments »
Just a quit post today. Has anyone seen the Google InQuotes interface? One of the great things about Google is that they have no problem putting the time into creating something like this without monetization as the primary goal of creating it – there is not a single ad on that page despite the obvious benefit of providing it.
For you Analytics freaks, the “official” Google Analytics blog has its first post today from one of their certified consultants regarding the set up of Profiles.
If you aren’t a member of the HubSpot-sponsored ProMarketers group (available via LinkedIn and Facebook), you should consider signing up. They’ve organized a couple of events in San Francisco and Boston.