Product good. Marketing… not so good
It’s been an interesting exercise thinking about marketing at Elcom over the last few months.
In my opinion (biased as I am) I think we have an excellent product. However, something we haven’t been very good at is the marketing side of things. Often people have heard of us, but they don’t really know what we do. We mention that we have a content management system (CMS) product and they ask how it compares to WordPress…
We’ve obviously not communicated our differentiation very well! (And conversely WordPress has been very good at getting its brand out)
A change is coming
But I’m glad to see that our marketing is starting to change (although it is only early days) and we are getting the message out a little better. If you take a look at our new site for example, we’ve aimed to highlight our products as well as focusing more on what our customers (and potential customers) are looking to solve.
Working on the wrong stuff
A trap of course, is that many companies (Elcom included) tend to take on the wrong kind of work. A profitable opportunity comes along and we find it hard to resist, even if it is a departure from our core skill-set. This is problematic (since we probably won’t deliver a superior solution) and costly (especially in terms of opportunity cost – our resources could be better utilised elsewhere)…
What’s the point of this post?
Apart from being a shameless plug for Elcom :-), it’s also an important reminder for technical people in general. My role is primarily a technical one, and yet more and more it is clear that I’m really in business development.
As developers we can often fall into the trap of thinking that great technology is all it takes (ie ‘build it and they will come’). This is only half of the equation. As developers we need to understand the problem from a business perspective (as well as a technical challenge). Obvious I know, but often neglected.
Combining this thought with the trap highlighted earlier, we can see where marketing fits in: It’s about ensuring there is a good fit between the problem our client is experiencing and the solutions we can provide. Clients want to find someone appropriate to solve their problem, and we want to work with clients that we can greatly help.
And by marketing I mean the strategic market segmenting, informed targeting and proper execution (ie it’s not about having a few brochures, glossy web site and generalised AdWords).
So, here’s my point: Marketing is a good thing. It’s all about getting the right people connected.
(Interesting factoid: Microsoft has more people in sales and marketing than they do in development)
So, given that this post is 50% advertisement for Elcom, let me at least take the opportunity to clarify what we do:
Companies have woken up to the fact that their web assets need to improve processes, bring in revenue, cut costs etc, not just act as brochure-ware (and note: I’m including fancy Flash, Silverlight and dynamic sites as brochure-ware).
What does the CommunityManager.NET product do?
Community Manager* is our flagship Enterprise Web Content Management product. It’s been around for a while (very stable), has a ton of modules (this should clear up any comparisons with WordPress) and is well supported (we have a dedicated helpdesk and technical support team).
The key to content management is simple tools. Community Manager has a really slick interface for managing thousands of pages easily and securely. It is perhaps ironic, that with all the features our product has, often the highest priority for clients is just having something that their staff can actually use!
(You’d be surprised at how many CMS products are practically useless once you start managing more than a hundred pages or have multiple content authors)
Our products are targeted at mid-to-large size companies (ie with possibly hundreds, but usually thousands of pages). Community Manager is behind many large sites you may have dealt with (eg Austrade, Hyundai, Lend Lease, D-Link, Selleys).
Many of our clients are running their entire business on Community Manager.
How can Elcom help?
Our clients tend to be a little confused (possibly frustrated) about how to best harness the web, create a useful intranet, enable an extranet, put up an online store, manage a portal, etc.
We’ve been able to help them
- sort out their real business requirements
- deal with all the stakeholders, and then
- provide all the services they need in order to make it happen, including:
- project management
- information architecture
- graphic design
- custom development
If you’ve got any questions feel free to give me a call to discuss: +61 2 9209 4468 (or use my contact page)
We’ve finally woken up to the fact that marketing is a good thing!
Our product and service offering isn’t changing much, but the way we connect with companies is. It’s about ensuring we’re a good match and probably saying ‘No’ more often.
End of advertisement :-)
* We refer to it as Community Manager, CommunityManager.NET and CM depending on the context. The names are interchangeable.
Top image credit: FAIL Blog