The Software Adoption Funnel

Getting people to use the software you have written seems to be a crucial step marketers tend to ignore. I say this from experience in working with Microsoft, Intel,  AB, and Coke. Obviously, there are serious efforts within those companies to make sure people use the applications they create, but I have not witnessed it for anything I have produced for any of them. Of the 34 million dollars or so spent on BudTV, I think I saw a single 5 second mention of it on TV. That was it. No  concerted effort to drive people to the site, certainly no advertising platform.

Budgets are completely spent in making applications. This is odd to me because an application is like a product, and products need marketing. This is why I created the software adoption funnel. It’s similar to the retail purchase funnel, but essentially it’s a guide on how to segment, target, and proposition marketing communications contingent to where a user is in the process. Each part of the funnel should be driving the user to next phase.

This conversion should be nurtured as studies have shown that delays in moving users down the funnel leads to an attrition of the adoption process. Information recall is chief among issues that arise from any delay.

The process starts with awareness. Strategically, this is addressed like mass advertising and communications should have a very creative appeal to spark interest.

Once a user signs-up or a downloads the application you now more towards a more direct marketing model. Lifecycle e-mail marketing can begin. Communications should focus on getting the users to play with the application.

Now the user is in the evaluation phase, test driving the application. This is the most crucial phase where usability can make or break an application. If the experience is relevant to their needs and it’s easy to use, the users will come back. Communications should focus on helping the users get past any sticking points. It’s about customer service and reassurance.

Through repeat trial our primary conversion goal is achieved, we have breached that cultural penetration threshold with a user who has made it to adoption. Strategies to drive frequency are now considered. Both putting out fresh content and marketing it are important. But we can go further and should.

The final stage is advocacy, where super-users become software evangelists promoting by word of mouth and social media. These people need to rewarded for their dedication or least have their voices amplified through any channel available. They can effectively drive other users through all phases of the funnel.


B2B Marketing, Emotional Or Not

I recently read an article that made a blanket statement that B2B marketing was logical and B2C was emotional.  I’ve equally worked on both in my career and it’s not so cut and dry.

Say you’re evaluating a SaaS. You’ve narrowed it down to three solutions that pretty much do the same thing. Who do you choose? Probably the one that makes you FEEL the most comfortable using. That’s called an emotion and it can make a real difference, especially among similar products and services. Trust can be gained through logical arguments, but trust is emotional and can be addressed from an emotional proposition. The main point here is that most decisions are made from making comparisons. Who stands out is often the one playing to your intellect and heart.

I’ve seen sales made with some awful presentations that stated opinions as facts and had no shred of logic to them. They looked logical, but if you were to start picking them apart, you’d realize there’s nothing of substance there. Yet they worked and were not logical.

I have also seen higher ups ignore logical arguments in favor of gut opinion. They will say things like, “there’s just something about it that doesn’t feel right”, if you even get that much out of them.

What about fear. Fear isn’t logical, but you can make all kinds of logical arguments to stir it up. If I propose a solution and follow it up with saying, if you use our competitor you risk blah, blah, blah. Isn’t that both logical and emotional.

The head and the heart work together to make decisions. Marketing, no matter what kind, should proposition logical arguments wrapped up in emotional packages.