by Thomas Wailgum

Enterprise Software Marketing Gets Snarky and Dare We Say, Funny

Apr 16, 2010
Enterprise Applications

In the serious world of enterprise software, the ads are finally connecting with customers on the most human level: Humor.

Either I’ve simply become more observant of enterprise software advertising campaigns of late, or vendors’ marketing tactics and messaging have gotten…dare I say it…well, better? More in tune with today’s social media/YouTube landscape? A tad smarter, edgier? Even the—gasp!—humor is better?

In an earlier post, I noted the spate of “creative” ways business software vendors have been positioning themselves—some successful, some not. Two new marketing vehicles dropped into my lap recently, and I wanted to point them out.

The first is the “SAP vs. NetSuite Guy” YouTube video that parodies the Mac vs. PC campaign. Now, for originality, we can’t give it sky-high scores; but for sarcasm and effectively getting the “us vs. them” message across (as well as trodding on that “Is this too much stereotyping?”) this video does work.

This short video fits in quite well with NetSuite’s overall strategy of positioning itself in the “SAP Conversation,” of transforming its image from a startup-SaaS-financial-apps-provider to a viable competitor to ERP juggernaut SAP and all its supposed German hubris.

BI vendor Information Builders takes a bit of a different approach with its “8 Signs You Need Better Business Intelligence” series. The eight cartoons are New Yorker-esque, though these don’t necessitate a four-page explanation or PhD in archeology to understand.

The images point out the precarious, troubling state of BI today inside companies. While they’re not ROTFL, they are effective because almost everybody can identify with one of the eight scenarios. Here’s one:

Information Builders BI

Every executive, manager or entry-level worker can relate to the pain and occasional folly of Excel spreadsheet hell at meetings. (Though, it should be noted, there’s a darn good reason why spreadsheets are like the cockroaches of 21st century corporate America.)

I humbly submit that software vendors need all the help they can get retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.

Therefore, the more important question is: Does any of this marketing resonate not with me but with CIOs and other tech decision-makers? I hope so, because I haven’t seen many enterprise software campaigns much better than these.

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