This weekend Iris Shoor revealed the secrets AutoCAD WS used to reach the 10M download mark with an app that most people would think of as simply ‘ho hum.’ Her blog on TechCrunch tells you that when traditional marketing tactics did not help their app rise above the noise, they turned guerilla to:
- Transform boring into interesting
- Have customers do the storytelling
- Weather disasters by directly connecting with customers
- Localize the app beyond minor translation
The ‘so what’ factor AutoCAD discovered was how to relate the people who would care about their product in a number of very personal ways. As long as you fill a need with high enough quality, any company can pull off this approach.
For example, I produced Deltek’s newsletter in the ’90s. Back then, Deltek developed project accounting software for government contractors and was trying to grow into an Enterprise Resource Planning company. Pretty boring stuff for most people. Trying to compare feature sets made prospects’ eyes glaze over as they tried to wade through the detail and make purchase decisions. So, I wrote about how the product impacted people’s lives.
Sure, Deltek’s software made it easier for managers to run their businesses profitably. More importantly, it enabled companies like Minact to manage inventory of hot dogs to ensure the kids in its Jobs Corp program had enough to eat while also ensuring there were enough shoes (in the right sizes) for them to wear.
Your compelling story is not about the product. It’s about the people who make it and the people who use it—and what it means on a personal level. Every time.