Tag Archives: marketing

DBTA Webinar: Too many cooks, yet again

Sadly, DBTA is becoming known for taking interesting companies, putting them in a blender and having each lose their message. A recent webinar included Cask, Attunity and HPE Security – all in a one hour time slot – again shows the problem. It was a mess.

Cask is a young Hadoop company with an interesting opportunity (Disclosure: As I’m discussing marketing, I need to mention I recently interviewed for a position at Cask). The company is working to put wrappers around Hadoop code to make it easier for IT to use the data platform. One of their products is Cask Hydrator, to help populate the database. That begins to move the message of Hadoop out of the early adopter phase and into a business message, but the presentation was still far to technical.

Attunity then presented and a key point was that they make data ingest easy. If that sounds like a similar message to Cask’s, you’re right. Why the two were together on the webinar when much of what they said sounded like competition wasn’t clear. On the good side, Attunity did a far better job at presenting a business message, both in how the presenter talked about the products and in which case studies were used.

HPE Security made another appearance, tacked onto the end of a presentation. Data security is critical, and HP has put together a very good message on it, but it didn’t vaguely fit the tone and arena of the previous presenters.

When Companies Should Share a Stage

The smaller companies seem to have a problem. It’s simple: Their involvement in webinars might be driven by marketing, but it’s being controlled by bean counters. Each of the three companies had something good to say, and each should have taken the time to say it in a stand-alone webinar. However, sharing costs was made to be the primary issue and so the mess ensued.

When should firms share the spotlight? That should happen when the item missing from the top of my presentation is there. The missing piece is having a joint story to tell. None of the case studies mentioned the companies working in partnership. None. When multiple vendors work to provide a complete solution to a client, even if the vendors might sometime compete, there’s a strong case for multiple companies in a webinar.

This webinar was not that. It was companies not feeling strongly enough about themselves for the other executives to overrule the COO’s or CFO’s and push a solid webinar about themselves.

All of these companies are worth looking at within the big data arena, just not in such a forced together setting. Stand on your own or show a joint project.

Yellowfin DashXML Webinar: Good new feature, not so good launch

The launch of Yellowfin DashXML included a round of global webinars mid-week. Well, not “included,” it’s more that the webinar was the entire launch. The new product feature is useful, but as I’m a marketing person I do have to question how they’ve handles the launch.

Yellowfin, as with many business intelligence (BI) vendors, is focused on visualization, providing business knowledge workers the ability to easily see information. The presentation was by John Ryan, Director of Product Marketing, and Teresa Pringle, Product Specialist. As is obvious from the title of the webinar, it was to announce the availability of the first version of DashXML, a utility within Yellowfin that allows easy integration of custom XML into dashboards and reports.

While they do sell directly to IT organizations who provide their interface to their corporate users, they also have a strong OEM business. As Mr. Ryan pointed out, “Embedding BI is a large chunk of Yellowfin’s business.” While direct label clients also want to customize user interfaces, DashXML seems much more valuable to the OEM customer base, providing an easier way to integrate standards from existing applications in order to have a more consistent interface.

The key word in that last sentence was “easier,” not “easy,” and that’s just fine for what is needed. This is XML. As Ms. Pringle explained, programmers will need to be very familiar with CSS manipulation and also with Java Script. DashXML is there to assist developers in providing customized visualizations, it is not for end users. The feature is available with a server license, providing deployment capability, and with a developer license for investigating the feature. It is not available as part of the per-user, distribution license for end users.

DashXML adds power and flexibility to Yellowfin’s offering and will better help its clients customize visualizations.

A Very Quiet Launch

As much as the presenters seemed to be working to imply DashXML is a new product, it’s really a feature of their platform. While the title of the webinar was a launch, nothing in the presentation or on their site implies it’s really a launch.

Almost the entire presentation was about the existing Yellowfin offering. Teresa Pringle’s “demo” portion of the webinar started with a whole lot of customized interfaces and only spent a few minutes showing the DashXML features in design and only for a single report in a dashboard. You could get the idea that it would make things easier, but it was also clear that’s all it did. There’s nothing really new, nothing that Yellowfin clients aren’t doing now, it’s a way to save time and money. Mind you, those are very valuable things, but the presentation didn’t focus on any ROI those savings might present.

What’s more intriguing is that they held a webinar, yet their site doesn’t reflect that knowledge. As of the writing of this blog entry (24 hours after the webinar), a few things seem to be missing:

  • No DashXML item in their home page rotating banner.
  • No DashXML mentioned on the rest of the home page.
  • No DashXML item on their news/blog page.
  • No DashXML added to their site menu, even though John presented a slide that implied DashXML was on the same level as their platform and web services offerings.

If the feature isn’t important enough to discuss on the web site, why have a webinar? After all, the purpose of a webinar is to drive interest in the product and one of the key follow ups for webinars should also be gaining information on your site to hopefully drive customer tracking and contact information as lead qualification.

DashXML is a nice addition that can help IT and OEM developers blend point-and-click development and coding to provide a customized visualization interfaces with better ROI. However, a week webinar and no content is neither a silent launch nor a strong one. Sadly, the marketing doesn’t rise to the quality of the product enhancement.

Email Etiquette 101: Wait for an intro if you don’t want to be reported as a spammer

Last week, I received an email from some unknown company asking me to go to their site and enter my SSN. I’ve never heard of the company. I responded by letting my security software know the email was spam.

Today I received an email from a client. It seems the firm is changing their accounting, payroll, finance firm. While the client sent contact information for their suppliers to the new company, they didn’t think to tell us about it and the new company didn’t think to check before emailing. The email I just received apologized and asked everyone to please go out to the new firm’s site. I clearly wasn’t the only one who properly responded to an unknown company asking for personal information.

People need to more clearly consider their actions in the internet age. All contact with people outside your organization need to be considered in the same way as marketing — messages that set an image for your company.

Software marketing: Understanding business and technology

Welcome to my web site. This first post is to introduce myself a bit more than a short About page can do. As that page mentioned, I’m David Teich and have over thirty years of experience in enterprise software with a focus on marketing. What makes me different from most others who have the same years of work? Breadth. I am a true generalist able to take a broad range of high technology experience to bear on your issues. I see the forest, not the trees.

I began my career as a computer operator, and moved through programming, systems analysis, consulting, and sales engineering and into marketing by the mid-1990s. I can work with people in all areas of business to understand their skills and needs in order to synthesize a solution that incorporates an understanding of your business, technologies and markets to create messages to attract the varied stakeholders in a complex modern sales cycle.

It’s not just the depth and breadth of my work experience that serve as a foundation for supporting your needs. I earned my undergraduate from Texas A&M University in the second year of their business computing degree program. I went to Stanford to earn my MS in computer science because I was interested in expert systems to solve business problems. My MBA from Pepperdine University is in marketing.

Consulting? That experience goes back a long way. Teich Communications is the name my parents had for their public relations firm and in which I was first exposed to proofreading, printers, consulting and more. I’ve decided to keep that name because marketing, whether strategic or tactical, is all about communications. I consulted a few times in Silicon Valley and spent six years consulting in Israel.

Today’s software environment is global. In addition to having worked with international markets at US companies, I have lived and worked abroad. That overseas experience strengthens my ability to understand the needs of different markets and global corporations.

I understand both how enterprises make software decisions and how enterprise software works. I can help small to mid-sized software firms better focus marketing to address solutions. Whether you need help understanding strategic aims and positioning or you need basic collateral that attracts specific stakeholders, I can help you improve your communications.