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4 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Web Designer or Developer

The days of spending lavishly on your first/second/tenth website are doomed. For a host of reasons, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like buying a factory before you have seed money or your first customers.

If you’re in the early stages of growing your business or even your idea, save your marketing spend for experimentation and business modeling, not creative design firms who will give you a “corporate identity.”

All the effort that pre-IPO company spent with that sexy downtown design firm for a $100K, 3-month website project is being copied by a bunch of Eastern Block kids with immaculate PHP/CSS skills

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a sharp logo/name/tagline. By all means, you have to be memorable.

But as for your website? Take a long, deep breath should anyone tell you to hire a web designer/developer. You may need to, but here are four signs that maybe it’s not the best strategy. Read more

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5 Marketing Wastes of Time and Money

There is good marketing out there, but there is also a ton of marketing waste. Yet businesses continue to throw time, effort and money away attempting to move the needle simply because everyone else does it. So in no particular order, here are 5 marketing efforts B2B companies do that are completely and utterly useless like the ice cream cone that spins itself. Read more

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How Adobe Could Take Over Design (Again)

Adobe’s Creative Cloud is an ecosystem waiting to rain on everyone.

Designers (and pigeonholing them into a single group is already tantamount to imprisoning them in Abu Ghraib) are a notoriously cliquish bunch who have a guttural reaction to  LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. where their 7AM lattes come back up their throats. Pinterest (for inspiration) and Deviantart (for gloating) are okay. But their activities around the “job” of design can’t be socialized as easily to pull faithful creative types away from their Photoshop layers and Bezier curves. Cat videos are an exception. Read more

Marketing Is Sales En Masse

Most companies separate the sales team from marketing. Operationally, it is okay to do so, particularly since most salespeople have big, big egos and most marketing people would rather not deal with both the individual minutiae of a customer relationship or the hounding pressure of sales quotas.

But today’s web-based world is changing this dynamic and it’s a good thing. For one, it makes the marketer pay less attention to stupid marketing tactics that don’t bear fruit. It makes the marketing effort accountable to some level. There really is no room in an organization for under-performance. It’s not fair to those who work hard or find creative solutions.

For software, depending on the customer, you may need salespeople, who can consult from a one-to-one perspective. They take the middleware marketing materials and convey them to every unique enterprise they encounter. They are also required for negotiations, or “the deal,” if your product can be priced as such or involves additional services.

Marketing can also learn a lot from the sales effort. What pitches work well? What stories resonate? Who are qualified buyers? These questions give a marketer information to hone the marketing toolset and do what they do best: refine/craft messages, identify the channels to communicate those messages, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

This effort increases the propensity of someone finding out about you, hopefully cutting through all the noise, and identifying a person in need.

Using Web Meetings for Usability Testing

Football coaches and players pour over game and practice film to learn how their plays are working. Software developers can do the same and with the magic of the interweb, you can do so without having to sit onsite with your customer.

First, identify a good customer candidate. Someone who is friendly and trusts you and who uses your software fairly religiously is a good choice. This is your “ideal user.”

Second, get web conferencing account. The one you demo with is fine, but there are plenty (WebEx, GotoMeeting) including some free options (DimDim).

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