Sorry to disappoint you if you came here to get the latest updates for wonderful and terrific Solid Edge promotions. There have not been any since the release of Synchronous Tech 1 (ST1) when I came on board. What drew me at the time were the capabilities of Synchronous tech in its infancy. I could see the potential in it. What really clinched the deal though was the offer of $3,000.00 for a seat of SE Classic and the first years maintenance. How could I refuse? Let me tell any corporate guy who may be reading this if you don’t think this means a lot to a small customer who is being asked to leave behind lots of accumulated work and something already paid for you are sadly mistaken. I cant explain the all the psychological reasons behind why users hang on to something they don’t like anymore. All I can say is that in most cases they need incentive to change above and beyond just the capabilities of the software you sell and your wonderful PR campaign. Solid incentives are important and extremely influential and it is what will take users who hate what they use off the fence and into your back yard.
But my main reason for posting today is the idea of concepts in promoting your product and what you think will get potential customers attention.
SO, how do you get traction on promotions above and beyond offering the above mentioned idea? I see various companies offering incentives to participate in a contest. SE had the $6,000.00 prize for this thing that only lasted two weeks.
ZW3D offered $300.00 for design winner recently. Others offer an iPad or phone. In general what all these things have in common is that almost all of them are promoted by big companies with varying degrees of hoopla and really trivial prizes.
I am in the process of acquiring a new company as a customer. They are a health food encapsulating outfit looking for a local machine shop to produce both replacement parts on a regular basis and to bail them out in emergencies. I don’t just tell them what I can do nor do I just say see my customer list and maybe I will even find you a referral who will talk to you. I get in there and offer my time for free in designing parts and producing samples and making sure what I produce is up to specs and works well. I am charging nowhere near the value of the current time I have into this. I am betting that when, not if, these guys become good customers I will more than make up for what I put out upfront in “promotions”.
As an aside here. As a percentage of my gross it is a far more serious promotion of my company as a percentage in actual cost than anything I have ever seen a major CAD or CAM company offer. I am beating the pants off of the silliness that most CADCAM companies believe in that a thirty-day trial is all they need to offer as incentive. I am also GOING to have these guys as customers because I am taking positive and meaningful actions that really matter to them to guarantee this.
Promotions I think in order to be successful and to really get attention have to be out of the ordinary and offer potential users a reason to be there. Maybe it should be broken down into two categories with existing and potential users as separate categories if this promotion is open to both.
I like the current design concept contest over at Matt Lombard’s blog
but it lacks that little zinger that would push it seriously into the public eye. All it is right now is basically bragging rights incentive for a few disgruntled SW users and a few enthusiastic SE users. This is to me a perfect vehicle for enticing potential users if it would offer some serious incentive. At the least would be free seats of SE for certain category winners. The top winner would have a real cash incentive as an additional bit of inspiration to all who participate. It has to be a closed time frame but long enough to allow people to spend some serious time with the program to learn it. Using the seat you have provided to registered contestants for the length of this contest. Remember, considering what is currently being offered you are expecting here that these guys are going to spend their own time out of their hopefully busy schedules learning this software just for curiosity’s sake. Primarily SW users I presume since this is I would think your primary potential market.
Once you have serious incentive there then you have to promote it and get it aggressively into the CAD users world. Is it too much to ask when you hope to profit by millions in capturing new customers that you show these potential new customers you are serious about how good your software is? It does not go un-noticed by cad users who are expected to cough up the dough and buy your products that typically the, ahem, grand prize is less than a single seat price of the software you want to sell them. It is a niggardly attitude and it is noted as such by the users you want to reach.
I think the concept behind the “Flexcavator” is a great idea that needs to have some time and incentive devoted to it by Siemens and SE and I mean beyond the participation of people who work with SE.
Just how do you get curious but busy people to look your way at what you sell? You compel them. Just how do you get reluctant buyers to buy what you sell? You entice them.
Just for the records sake I am speaking here of my own experience and what compelled me. I am also reflecting on what I have been told by other users as to what motivated them besides things like largest market share and most jobs on jobs boards. Never think these two things are not important. Even in the disintegrating world of SolidWorks this is still the most compelling sales tool out there and it drives their numbers more than anything else. No one else can compete in these two areas so you have to compete against them with a different incentive.
Local Motors and this two-week long contest is to me something that never even gets to the starting gate much less out of it. It is academically oriented and not targeting the professional user market at all. It is to short time wise and not worthy of mention otherwise in most places and that is exactly what it got. I find sadly that it is typical of what major CAD and CAM companies seem to think is sufficient inducement worthy of potential customers spending many thousands of their hours of irreplaceable time to take a peek.
I fully expect in the first quarter of 2013 that Solid Edge will have for the first time an integrated CAM partner. IF Autodesk does not buy them out too and who knows what they will do in light of the HSMWorks bomb. In any case assuming this will not happen this is a milestone in the SE path to the future. It is my hope they will get behind this and seriously compel potential users in both word and deed. To do this in ways that mean something to those they want to reach and not just to some marketing department sitting in a closed room debating things and budgets that appeal to themselves and not potential users. That closed room atmosphere that seems to be so conducive to the attendees talking to each other but somehow never getting good results.
It’s a strange world we live in when those you mean to appeal to are never asked what is appealing to them.