When I think about launching any new software “product” these days, be it for developers in the form of an SDK, consumers in the form of an app or application or enterprise in the form of a standalone executable or client/server application, I always first consider these three major “must-haves” or market requirements.
Every marketing plan for software (cloud based or otherwise) should include these three major tenets be fully addressed:
1) Platform: Platform coherency should be clearly defined
– Must be low friction for deployment and well documented for access (no excuses)
– Should be open source (if business feasible)
– Have a support ecosystem if the product encourages growing a user or developer community (aka: community forum, simple helpline email access, FAQ, newsletter, etc.)
2) Content: Content should always be included, even if the content is only code samples
– Content is what motivates adoption and sells the developer on using the platform
– Encourage user-generated content (especially if the primary goal of the application is UGC – think Snapchat and Instagram)
– Content can help you determine which distribution models may work best (the other way around is true as well).
– Content should help provide support for user acquisition, lead gen and more
3) Support: Support should be just as much business oriented as technical.
– Partner guidance (e.g., mobile platform advice, infrastructure tools such as Github, Bugzilla, etc.)
– Other possible synergistic partnerships (e.g., ecommerce tools, ecosystems apps and tools, support partners, etc.)
– May include co-marketing aids (if that makes sense for your product)
– Could be contract based and/or subscription based (or better yet, free!)
– If the product is technical in nature, such as an software development kit (SDK), expect to create developer forums, FAQs, and have someone on staff active in other internet channels where your developer customers may congregate.
I hope to write more about this soon, especially regarding content driving distribution choices.