ISV Advice: “Marketing can do things for you that a great product cannot”

By: RSPA Niche Startup & ISV Community

ISVs big and small continue to increase their engagement with the RSPA both in person and online. RetailNOW 2022 is on track to surpass the 230+ software developer executives last year’s show attracted, and nearly 50% of this year’s exhibitors will be software-focused. Additionally, the RSPA Niche & Startup ISV Community continues to attract high-initiative ISV executives to its bi-monthly conference calls.

During one recent ISV Community meeting, the group shared their experiences and exchanged advice related to marketing:

  • Even in a downturn, don’t decrease your marketing. If anything, it’s a time to increase marketing. When there’s a downturn in the market, that’s an opportunity for you to gain market share. You can buy good marketing cheaper when everyone else is running away.
  • We had been in a downturn but we are in an “opportunity turn” now. There’s tremendous opportunity across the board. Every one of our customers, regardless of type, is currently growth-focused. I take that as a huge opportunity for us to provide them with new technology and new things they haven’t thought of.
  • When we’re determining what money we’re going to spend on marketing, I don’t consider upturn or downturn. I look at the opportunity in front of us and ask, “Should we spend money to get that?”
  • We backpedaled in 2020 and put money into infrastructure and building new software. Now we need to advertise that more.
  • Marketing can do things for you that a great product cannot.
  • We are having success with conventional, old-fashioned postcards. We’ve stratified our prospect base, identified individuals/companies who have a succession plan and want to invest in new technologies. We also identified when there was change in ownership.
  • If someone founded their business 30 years ago and they’re not grooming someone to take over that business, they’re not going to invest in technology.
  • We’ve made four sales in the past 60 days where the owner who sold the company handed one of our postcards over to the new owner.
  • Postcards and trade shows work best for us. Social media is not very popular with our market, so we don’t even go that way anymore.
  • My postcards are 6”x9” and it costs me the same price to mail them as a 5”x7”. The visuals and the graphics are an important part of the postcard.
  • We are seeing email success because we are replicating the messaging from our postcard. We’re having success amplifying that same message on LinkedIn, too. It creates greater awareness with the right people.
  • With your marketing messages, you want to finish the sentence in their head. Your marketing should align with what they’re thinking. What’s in it for them? Make a “why” statement vs. “what” statement.
  • We used to list a lot of our software capabilities in our marketing but we realized who cares? Our new postcards appeal to their emotion, and then they find logic to back up their decision.

The RSPA Niche & Startup ISV Community helps software developer executives meet and network with fellow RSPA ISV members in a vendor-neutral setting. Founded in 2019, the group has grown to nearly 80 members. To join or sponsor the RSPA Niche & Startup ISV Community, email