Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Open Source and business thoughts

Posted by Janine Ohmer on
The main thing is to develop a unified marketing message about the platform. Once we have articulated that message, we should post web pages on this site that essentially act as marketing materials for anyone trying to sell OpenACS.

This reminds me of a point I've been meaning to make. Mike has been looking at Zope, to see what we're up against and also to have some idea of what it can do in case we're asked to use it some day. His main impression so far is that they do a *far* better job than we do of presenting it on their website. Of course there is a company behind Zope and we are all volunteers, but that doesn't mean we can't do a first rate job of putting together a site to evangelize OpenACS; it just may take us a bit longer to do it (any resemblence between this and furfly's perpetually "under construction" website are purely coincidental :).

Company Y should come along and say, "Hey, we're going after higher ed too. Tell you what; we'll stay away from the Northeast for now if you stay away from the Southeast for now.

Although I agree with the sentiment, Michael, I think you're breaking into a trot here. :) We already know that marketing a company like ours is difficult, or at least I will assert that I believe it to be so. So how are we going to segment ourselves, geographically or otherwise, when we don't know how to target the customers in the area each of us has chosen?

The hard part is that our businesses are not geographically based. furfly has clients all over the world now. How would we advertise to reach them? When I think small business marketing I think of things like ads in local papers, sponsoring the local Little League team, things that will get your name in front of the people who might be your next client. And that's fine if you're a local CPA or whatever. But all of us need to reach a national or even global audience, and the only medium which can do that cost-effectively is the Internet. That doesn't solve the fundamental problem, though, beause then we run smack into the problem that has plagued many a dot-com with far deeper pockets than ours - how do you get people to visit your site? Hence Talli's idea of an ad in Linux Magazine - I'm not too sure that people read those any more than they click on banner ads, but it might be worthwhile to try at some point.

Since none of us know the answer to The Big Question just yet, I think we need to set it aside for now. Let's work on evangelizing OpenACS, and see what happens. Sometimes, in situations like this, the right answer becomes obvious when it's the right time to implement it. Not to get too New Agey here or anything. :)