Saturday, January 30, 2010

Identifying the Product, Or The most important part of any plan stands the greatest chance of being overlooked completely

If you had a great product that did something wonderful, wouldn't you tell people? Wouldn't the wonderful thing your product did be, like, the first thing you'd tell people? If you were advertising a sales wouldn't one of the things you'd want to tell people is what your (cheaper) products did? Apparently not.

I review software for Visual Studio Magazine and, as a result, I'm constantly scanning new product announcements to see what's coming out. A lot of the time, I can't figure out what the package does: I often get a list of the new features added to the product but no mention of the package's purpose in life. Sometimes I can't even figure out what the new features do.

I can see that, in the product's accompanying documentation, it might not make sense to spell this stuff out: By the time people buy the product, they probably know what the product does. But in a press release sent out to the general public or on the first page of the website, you can assume that a sizable percentage of your audience doesn't know what your product does (at least, not yet). I've found either that there's no mention of what the product does or the mention is buried in the text a surprising amount of the time.

Well, it's surprising to me.

So here are two rounds of "What does this software actually do?" based on samples of material that I've received or found (names have been changed to product the guilty):

1) Fred v2.0 Is Available Now!

In data centres around the world. We even let you test and choose the fastest data center for your particular location! See for yourself why dev teams around the world choose Fred v2.0 every day.

Fred v2.0 Now! Videos

Take a tour of the Fred v2.0 hosted solution with our resident IT director. Learn why Fred v2.0 can deliver premium hosted performance all across the globe. After watching the overview (left), check out the Quickstart (below). If you like what you see, take advantage of the free Fred v2.0 trial. Experience for yourself why so many teams are choosing Fred v2.0!

2) Impressive Development - Limited Time 50% Discount

Programmers worldwide have supported Impressive Development and our products for 20 years. We wish to return that support by making our tools more obtainable. Therefore, for a limited time, the price of all Impressive products and upgrades have been reduced by 50%.

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