Marketing readiness: 5 ways marketplace managers can help ISVs
Any marketplace is based on a delicate balance between vendors and customers.
To attract customers, it needs vendors. To attract vendors, it needs customers.
Long story short, to ensure the success of your business app marketplace, you need applications. If you have more apps on your marketplace, you will attract more people and thus you will sell more.
However, you may have noticed that often ISVs develop great applications, but they are not marketing ready. This is how you can help them.
From caterpillar to butterfly
Just like caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies, sometimes ISVs need the support of marketplace managers to improve the marketing readiness of their services.
As a marketplace owner, you have certainly meet ISVs who developed products with a great potential. Sometimes they are marketing ready (great!), but more frequently they are not.
It does not matter whether the application is not ready because the ISV is a developer with no marketing skills or because he has always sold his app offline: if it is not marketing ready, customers will not buy it. And if you run a marketplace, you cannot afford that.
Does that sound a bit overwhelming? Here is the good news: you can actually help ISVs to turn their applications into beautiful butterflies.
5 ways to help ISVs to improve the marketing readiness of their applications
Having a product that is marketing ready means that you have enough material to create effective product pages and campaigns. Here is the checklist of the 5 things you should ask to your ISVs before they start the onboarding process on your business app marketplace:
Even if it might sound strange, not every vendor knows who his perfect target customer is. Sometimes, vendors have an idea of who might buy their product, but they have never worked on the buyer persona. This is true especially when they developed horizontal applications that do not have a unique ideal customer.
It is crucial that they define their buyer persona, identifying role, pains, needs and goals.
This will help to write an appealing product description on your marketplace, develop effective nurturing campaigns and optimize advertising investments.
2- Value Proposition
“What is the value proposition of your product?”. Most ISVs cannot answer to this question. Or to be precise, they have never thought about it.
However, they need to stop and think about it before their sell their application on your marketplace.
A good value proposition should tell the audience what the product does, who it services, how it is different from other similar solutions.
This kind of analysis will help you to understand the product and deliver the right message to your potential customers.
Typically, ISVs confuse features and benefits. If you ask them the benefits of their application, they tell you the complete list of the features they developed. However, on a marketplace you cannot focus too much on features.
Vendors need to understand that they should stop selling features and start selling benefits. Users are interested in the benefits that they will get from the product (ie. save time, save money, increase productivity,...): how you accomplish that result is up to you.
It is not that they will have to completely forget about the features, but they should overcome the idea that features are everything.
As a marketplace owner, you do not want the product page to turn into a list of features: you want it to attract customers and convince them to try (and buy) the application.
As a marketplace manager, you need to create nurturing campaigns. You may need them to convert users and/or for upselling/cross selling reasons. Whatever the case, you need content.
Competitor analysis, white papers, use cases, testimonials, tutorials, faqs and articles are all fundamental in the nurturing process. Only a few vendors already have this kind of content, but this is something you need to define an application marketing ready.
Do not be scared: usually it is just a matter of writing down and sharing things that they already know.
Remind vendors that they know how their application looks like, but customers do not.
In the decision process, users want to understand the look and feel of a software. That is why screenshots and videos can convince visitors to use a product: they do not want to activate (or even worse, buy) a trial walking into the unknown. A little preview sometimes is just what makes the difference.
Obviously, this will contribute to create a better product page on your marketplace.