Market Research

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Managing a Model Software Company
Lindsay Smith, Country Manager, The York Group (UK) (Lindsay@TheYorkGroup.com)

The role of marketing is an essential element in the successful management of a software company

Policies Processes

Technology

Capabilities Organisation

Development

Operations

Profit

Marketing

Sales

Functional Department Attribute

The Functional Departments

Policies Processes

Technology

Capabilities Organisation

Development

The four functional departments are very different one from the other, yet each is vital to the well being of a software company. Marketing The Marketing Department should be the architect of the company’s business. It defines the basic business model of the company and how the company’s resources are going to be utilised to turn technology into profit. More especially it evaluates the market opportunities available and defines the type of products that will be needed to realise those opportunities. Marketing also frequently contains the resource for the process management to establish the synchronised delivery of the package of

Operations

Profit

Marketing

Sales

product, services and intangible differentiators (the Whole Product) to the market. Marketing also covers the promotional, event management and P.R. activities of a company. It will be useful to establish terms to describe these functions. We will use below: • • • Product Marketing to describe the activities that lead to the definition of the Whole Product and decisions regarding the industry, segment and customer groupings to be targeted by the business. Product Management to describe the activities that ‘process manage’ the delivery of the Whole Product concept to initial launch and through its lifecycle. Program Management to describe advertising, marcoms, P.R., promotional and event management aspects of marketing.

These specific terms are often used interchangeably in the industry, press and literature. The distinction, while useful here is by no means universally adopted. In a small organisation, if the individual has sufficient breadth, it may be reasonable to combine product marketing and product management into the same job. Program management being wholly undertaken under management or directly by the sales group. In practice the boundary between marketing and the other departments is fluid. It tends to change over time as a company develops. Start-ups of technology led companies will have product marketing and product management in development (although they won’t normally be called that). Both product marketing and product management personnel will often be found in sales departments. A mature software organisation will however recognise the need to give objectivity, balance and some independence to the architect of its product and marketing strategy. Too close to sales - there is a danger of short term thinking; too close to development - there is the danger of trying to tell customers what to buy. Development The Development Department has responsibility for interpreting the requirements of the Marketing Department and creating the company’s products. Typically this will involve a range of activities, from design and programming through to writing manuals, quality testing and making the localisation ‘tool-kits’ to enable subsequent translation of a product. Development should also work closely with Marketing to derive the Product Plan, and with Sales to run the support and maintenance programmes. Sales The Sales Department takes responsibility for selling the product. This not only involves the relatively obvious aspects of lead generation and processing, interacting with potential customers and closing deals, but generally also delivering the Whole Product concept to the customer. This implies the delivery of the product, services associated with it, installation, training, post sales support and all the aspects of value that have motivated the customer...
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