Some ideas are so obviously good that you might be sure they’ll take over. One such idea was selling bits on the Internet.
There was a time where people were selling software via catalogs, had to ship physical goods (diskettes; when was the last time you used a diskette?) and accepting payments was a pain.
Then came the internet and a few started offering downloads instead of diskettes and accepting payments on-line. The future was there, the writing was on the wall. This way of doing business was so much better that you could reasonably expect that everyone will switch to it. And so they did.
I think that today we have another thing brewing up in the domain of software marketing: animated demos.
The first animated demo for a software product I saw was a demo for CityDesk. It’s done in Flash (a good use for Flash, would you expect that?).
Another one is a demo for ClickTracks.
The idea just clicked with me. This is a powerful method of showing your software to potential customers. People are very reluctant to part with their money. The idea behind marketing is that you can convince them to buy your product using finely crafted ads.Now you can show people how good your software is.
It’s not a replacement for advertisement, it’s not a replacement for manuals but it’s a great complement of those. It can give you an edge over competition.
If I was selling software I would start making those demos and putting them on my web page. Now.
Parenthetical remark: truth to be told this is not a new idea. I remember in very old days Lotus Cam (I think that was the name) allowed people to capture a particular session with software and create a stand-alone demo that would replay that session. I never seen them used much.
Today we’ve reached a breaking point for two reasons:
- better tools to create demos; I’m pretty sure I could create such a demo myself if I tried really hard
- better ways of showing demos to people. If it’s Flash most people are already able to see it. If it isn’t, installing a plugin is not that hard those days