Marketing Made Simple

Bob Cramblitt reports on Dan Nunan’s talk from Business of Software 2007. To sign up for BoS 2008, visit

Writers have long known that it is easier to churn out 1,000 words on a subject than 100.  The same goes for software according to Dan Nunan, chief marketing officer for Red Gate (  Nunan kicked off the second day of the Business of Software 2007 conference, attended by more than 150 people from 30 states and 12 different countries.

Although simplicity is more difficult to achieve, it is worth it, according to Nunan.  Unnecessary complexity — such as the four different versions of Microsoft Vista — tends to inhibit decision-making, effectively paralyzing the customer.

Nunan presented four steps toward marketing simplicity:

  • Be authentic — Be transparent, trust your employees and use common sense (Microsoft’s policy on blogging).
  • Make do with limited resources.  Throwing money at marketing doesn’t make marketing more effective.
  • Respect your customers  — and don’t worry about what your competitors are having for breakfast.
  • Worry about complexity — Your customers don’t need 100 reasons to use your software or be presented with 300 new features.  Focus on one or two things that resonate with customers.

Nunan has learned 10 things about software marketing:

1. If your software is completely lousy, go home.
2. Just because a piece of software doesn’t have any bugs, doesn’t mean it is high quality.  The customer is the arbiter of quality.
3. Software marketing people are the organizational glue between technical people and sales.
4. Sales works (but you need something to sell).
5. Print advertising doesn’t work (but not for the reasons you think). It doesn’t work because of how much time is spent doing it; time that could be better spent doing something more effective.
6. PR isn’t press releases. Work with influencers; those who write books, blogs.  Communicate with the community and get feedback.
7. Understand Google. You need someone in the organization who understands Google and everything they do.
8. The future of graphical display ads is dim. Use of ad blockers is increasing; it’s difficult to display graphics in e-mail.
9. Software is a great place for the future of marketing.
10. Branding still counts, but you don’t need $10M to build an awesome brand.