The reaction to the ASUG survey about HANA, resulting in, amongst other things this blog and this response, has got me thinking. The problem seems to be that SAP have what they think is a great product, but their customers/potential customers don’t all see it the same way. I’m not sure that the fix for this disconnect is a blog that says, “How can you not see this?” and then goes on to list the many ways HANA is better than anything else. In fact, maybe the answer is to not talk about the product at all.
A long time ago, well 8 or 9 years ago, I used to read with great interest a blog called “Creating Passionate Users” by Kathy Sierra. Sadly, she was hounded off the Internet in 2007 and the blog stopped in 2007. There’s a lot of great stuff in there and if you have time, do go and read the archives. You’ll be glad you did. The point here, and the reason for the title of the blog, is that Kathy believes the best way to market a product is not to market the product at all but to market how the product makes its users feel.
If you are trying to sell a camera, don’t market it based on how many pixels it has or how noisy the sensor isn’t, and don’t compare it to competitive products and say how much better it is. Those things don’t matter. What matters is how the potential customer will feel about the photographs they take using your camera. Market the feeling, not the product. Or in terms more appropriate to the world of enterprise software:
“If you want to do something that’s going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy.” (Creating Passionate Users: What Users Really Want)
How does that apply to HANA? We’ve heard a lot over the last few years about how it is revolutionary, how it is so much better than its competitors, how it is just, well, awesome. How it is a Porsche compared to my current horse. And maybe it is. But I like my horse. If you are going to try and sell me a Porsche to replace it, don’t tell me how much faster it is, or about the aircon and airbags. Tell me about the buzz I’ll get from driving it. Tell me how once I’ve driven it once I’ll never want to get out. Tell me that even though I might only travel short distances now, a Porsche will open my eyes to opportunities further afield so I should still consider it. Let me test drive it and experience it for myself.
Don’t tell me how great HANA is, but how great my business will be when I’m running HANA. Tell me about the new opportunities it will give me. Make it easy for me try it and see for myself – I’m more likely to believe me than you, after all.
“Remember, it doesn’t matter how your users feel about YOU, all that matters is how they feel about themselves as a result of interacting with your product or service.” (Creating Passionate Users: You and your users: casual dating or marriage?)