Archive for the ‘sage’ category

Desperation marketing

March 22, 2007


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”.


Microsoft goes fox hunting

March 21, 2007


It caught my attention that Microsoft have abandoned Visual FoxPro. However, they are not denying it ever existed. (Sorry, but I just can’t get over the project green thing). They’re also releasing some of the sourcecode under its shared source initiative. Support will continue through 2015.

There are many ERP packages based on FoxPro out there, the most well known probably being Sage Pro. Sage have removed all references to FoxPro from their website, but I bet there’s lots of customers still running the software out there.

Don’t get me wrong, it was about time this product got killed. But there’s lots of homebrewed “ERP” systems out there based on it, as well as large products such as Sage Pro. There’s also a huge developer and consultancy community around this technology. This is going to be a big challenge for a lot of different people.

Update: Mamut is also based on FoxPro. No word on their website how this will affect them, though.

Lonely Sage: RSS troubles

March 12, 2007

I just found the Sage Business Advice blog but I can’t subscribe to it in Google reader. It doesn’t even show the fancy RSS indicator in Safari. The nice orange RSS icon is right there on the page, and links to a explanatory text about RSS, which is not-so-helpful.

I guess my business advice to you are: keep it easy to subscribe to you blog. Everybody else does.