Dennis Howlett is ranting about Sage’s latest marketing trick. TalkToSage looks like an effort to start a conversation with customers but alas, it is nothing of that sort. Although you have to give Sage your contact details, the only thing you can expect in return is “invaluable free business guides” (and a call from a Sage sales rep, I imagine).
To top it all off, they approach this using a consumer-space marketing strategy. Sign up and you’re in a price draw of £500 worth of M&S coupons.
I’m not sure, but my guess is that M&S coupons have little or nothing to do with how to run a successful business or with business software. My guess is that what we’re talking about is Marks & Spencer department store coupons being offered as a carrot.
Repeat after me: Businesses are not afraid of paying for a good service. Using a consumer-space marketing strategy will not build credibility in the business market. Instead, it might ruin it.
Nobody will trust your ability to provide top-notch business guides just because you’re a business solutions vendor. Especially when it’s for free, and the only sales pitch is that you can win coupons for something totally unrelated to your business. That is not enough to gain credibility when it comes to giving sound business advice beyond the scope of the actual product. It doesn’t really help that the “advice” is being teared to pieces, either.
The TalkToSage initiative could have been so very different. Just have a look at what Microsoft Business Solutions is doing and you’ll understand what I mean. Here in Sweden we’ve got a chain of HiFi stores that are using the sales pitch “bad sound kills good music”. I always liked the frankness and honesty of that slogan, and to paraphrase: “bad marketing kills good business”.