The marketplace for marketing software
Dusenberry says that America is not one big economic marketplace. It's a collection of a bunch of economies.
On a personal note, I've long felt the same about the software industry, too. You can't take good advice from one marketing niche, and assume that it can be applied to a different part of the industry.
The parity economy
One of Dusenberry's biggest challenges is dealing with the "parity economy". This is a world in which consumers honestly can't see that your product - your software - is better or worse than the dozens or hundreds of competing products.
The challenge is to create a brand that is a notch above the competition.
Parity of products soon becomes parity of advertising messages, with competing companies reciting the same tired cliches, over and over.
Worn-out marketing words
Dusenberry says that phrases such as "strongest" and "fastest" and "longest-lasting" and "most reliable" and "friendliest" no longer have the impact that they used to. Imitation has become the driving force in marketing and advertising.
The other guy adds a secret ingredient, so you add one, too. And the public doesn't believe either of your stories.
Product differentiation and software marketing
Dusenberry talks about HBO's success. In a market where people expected television to be free, you not only had to buy cable, but then you had to buy this particular premium cable service.
HBO was able to cut through the network muddle, and differentiate their service. And they were a huge success. They used the tag line "It's not TV, it's HBO."
On a personal note, I noticed that Wendy's is doing something similar by saying "Wendy's - it's way better than fast food." It wouldn't surprise me if a software company were to do something similar - separating itself from shareware as a major selling point, and encouraging people to buy without trying first.
Good software marketing requires drama
Dusenberry believes that you can't explain your way to strong sales. You have to "create a dramatic showcase that appeals to the consumer emotionally and, more importantly, entices the consumer to enter the picture." He describes the successful formula as a marriage of logical persuasion with emotional drama.
Dusenberry's business advice to companies with too many competitors and no way of differentiating their product from the others - buy the other companies.
Software Marketing Glossary
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