New to the marketing world
I've created a software product for video production and want to get it out to the world. I have the website up and running and even threw a sample video up on YouTube, but that's about it. So I guess the question is simple; how do I tell the world about it?
well, the rule of marketing is, tell us what you are selling and where to find it, including in your post on a forum like this.
You see, I told you I was new to this marketing thing. The product is called QuickSets. To put it simply, it's a Windows application that allows the user to create their own custom virtual video sets. It's done by combining pre-rendered image elements into a scene to create a completed set. The website is at http://www.myquicksets.com. The sample video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvb0r-5S0dI.
I would suggest you include some Flash videos showing the virtual sets in action. In a video with some blur added perhaps the backgrounds look better. All sharp and computer graphic looking, out of context, makes them look kind of cheesy, in my opinion.
Well, one thing I'd be leery of is using a website name that is "my" something-or-other (in your case, myquicksets.com).
We have been in a couple of legal matches recently and have won them both. (We are set for a third one soon as the second company lost their trademark case against us but refuses to take their site down and so we are going after them in a civil action.)
The first case involved a company that was using "mycreativecow.com" and it took about all of 20 minutes to win that case against them. You see, if you can't get the name that proves without a doubt that there is trademark confusion and you are the usurper 9-times-out-of-10 when you don't hold the "core" name. The derivative version, in your case the "my" variant, is almost a guaranteed loser.
That's my feedback.
So you're saying that any derivative of "quicksets" is not safe to use? I was considering something like videoquicksets. But the purpose of my site is not competing with another existing site. Quicksets.com is taken, but not apparently used. Quicksets.net is an open domain name. Would that work?
Well, I've personally never been a fan of .net, unless you are doing something that actially is networky... like creativecow.net. When used for a business my first reaction is always "What? They couldnt get the .com?"
I think people's first reaction is usually to remember the root of your domain name and automatically type .com... until that doesn't work and they try something else.
Who knows, maybe the .com domain owner doesn't really want it or need it? It'd be worth tracking them down and asking. My company's domain (fantasticplastic.com) was originally owned by a record store in Seattle, but we bought it from them. Now, that one cost us an arm and a leg, but if the quicksets.com owner isn't doing anything with it (or planning to) they might let it go for a song.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
My previous post was dashed off very quickly when running out the door... I've had a little more time to think about your needs with more of a marketing focus...
Firstly, congrats. I applaud anyone who can develop any kind of software that does any kind of anything. That is so beyond me.
I don't really have a problem with the MYquicksets that much, for reasons I will spell out below.
Ok, marketing .. I think you need to do a couple of things:
1. DEFINE YOUR MARKET
Actually I think you are already on your way to doing this pretty well. You seem to know who your product is for, and who it isn't. It's never going to be used by high-end or even mid-range video professionals, and you are aware of that. People with even moderate skill levels don't need it since it's easy enough to just use other programs (Photoshop or whatever) to do pretty much the same thing with as good or better results and a fair bit more control. You lose the functionality of the single drag-n-drop window but those with a bit of experience don't require that. However, there are millions of newbis and kids out there with video cameras that DON'T know how to do that, and personally I think that is your target market -- newbis and students. There are tons of them.
This is why I personally don't mind "myquicksets.com". The word "my" does a fairly good and simple job of designating it as an entry-level user product. There are still loads of copies of MyDVD authoring software floating around. Those entry-level users probably won't analyze the domain name enough to realize that you took that one because the preferred one was already taken. "My" is a good word.
2. IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT
The product can do some cool things for a newbi, but it does have some limitations... mainly with the selection of background plates and elements. They are very illustrative and artificial. Even the kids are not going to want all of their talk-show videos to look phony like Space Ghost. I would suggest developing some plates and elements that look a lot more photorealistic, not as cartoony. That may be beyond your personal abilities (it is beyond mine) but if so I think it would be worth it to find a talented young freelance graphic artist who can not only do realistic renderings but who has a good understanding of light, shadow, and focus who can build you some more realistic plates and pieces.
3. REVISIT YOUR PRICING
I think your pricing is too high for the target market. There probably aren't a lot of highschool kids that would be willing or able to throw $150 at it, and adult hobbyists might feel it is a little steep as well. I know you put a lot of work and probably countless hours into the development and lowering the price might make you cringe... but if you can sell one at $150 but sell twenty at $49 it's an easy decision. We live in the world of freeware and shareware where you can find some pretty darn amazingly good stuff for absolutely nothing... so you have to cater that that mindset a bit.
4. REVISIT YOUR WEBSTIE
Don't get me wrong, your website looks very good, very professional. That's part of the problem, it could easily be a website selling After Effects or Final Cut Pro or any other high-end user product... and that's not what your product is. I think you could benefit from "funning it up" a bit or making it more appealing to the young guy or girl with a video camera and an LE copy of Premiere or Final Cut on their home computer, as that's who's likely to buy it. I don't purport to know what kids today find appealing in a website (I'm 30 years too old for that), but it bears some research.
Just my thoughts, good start...
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Thanks, Todd. It's good to get some feedback from someone more "in the know" about these things than me.
Define your market: You're exactly right. It was planned from the beginning to be aimed at the home user, schools, churches and the like. As you say, it really doesn't do anything that a good photo editor can do but it takes away all the headaches that go along with them; cost, learning curve, etc...
Improve your product: I agree. I'm not the worlds best graphic artist, far from it, actually, very far from it. But I figured that the graphics would be suitable since most of what will be created from them will wind up as a 360x240 YouTube video anyway. I wasn't looking to see my product used on Monday Night Football. As far as the elements looking artificial, I think it has to come with the territory. Trying to create 3D images that can be mixed and matched is not easy. There are some trade-offs dealing with camera angles and perspective that had to be made in order to make the pieces appear to fit together. I'll work on this.
Revisit your pricing: You're probably right here. I based the pricing on research into the cost of pre-made virtual sets. Even the cheap ones look cheesier than my stuff. But, as you pointed out, this is not for the high or mid level producer that would normally be the market for those sets. I guess it's price drop time.
Revisit your website: I've been working on corporate web sites since they were invented. I've been in hardware and software for over 30 years. I don't think I would be very good at "funning up" a site. But I do see your point so I'll work on that too.
I really appreciate your input. It's finally given me a perspective from someone who knows what they're talking about.
[Mike Piontek] "So you're saying that any derivative of "quicksets" is not safe to use?"
No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that the "my" variant in particular is very unsafe and it would be sad to see you use so much time, money and effort to build your brand only to have the guy that owns the quicksets.com domain come along and say that you have cut into his trademark that he owns. You might win but you could just as easily lose.
Videoquicksets.com is far more likely to be a safe name and is more indicative of what you are doing anyway. That is where I'd go. And seeing as how we are discussing it here today, you better grab it today or it will be gone.
I wouldn't build around quicksets.net as the name is too generic and the .net variant is far less advantageous to your business for reasons that Todd Terry already laid out.
A good marketing name to have is one which spells out what you do quickly in the mind of the market. Quicksets.com is okay, but videoquicksets.com is far better. You "see" it when the name is said and so any effort you put into the name builds its value far quicker.
Did I mention that you better grab it NOW?
(who grabbed it because turbosquid.com was already taken)
Okay, it's been grabbed. I'll get the DNS set up and change the site to reflect the new name. Thanks, Ron.
One thing that I noticed right off the bat in your video is that it needs some music to dramatize and punctuate the presentation in places -- it's especially needed at the end when you say "So if you were thinking that you can't afford custom virtual sets ... think again."
Without music the presentation is laying flatter than it would be with music added.
Just a thought,
True. It could also use a lead-in to grab the viewer. I put that one together in kind of a rush and need to spend a little more time on a better one. It's also pretty fuzzy at the beginning. I used Premiere Elements 4 to assemble it since it had a nice "direct to YouTube" save feature. I normally use Vegas and have been for years.
When revisiting the functionality of the program, keep in mind that videos are not all wide shots. Perhaps your program allows scalability or "zooming in" to use just a part of the virtual set, I couldn't tell from your demo.
But if not, it definitely needs to, or have alternate background and foreground pieces that allow for tighter shots. It's fairly rare that you will use a very wide head-to-toes view of talent like seen in your demo, except MAYBE in an establishing master shot -- and certainly not as the only available POV for the entire video. For example in the "Lakeside Update" and "Sports View Online" scenes in the YouTube demo, it would be very unlikely that a director or producer would choose a shot that wide for anything other than an opening establishing shot or show intro. Mid-shots, closeups, and even extreme closeups would more likely be the norm.
Perhaps your software allows for that, but the demo doesn't indicate such.
Of course with tighter shots the background would not need to be as sharp to complete the illusion. This could be accomplished by providing blurability, or alternate closeup backgrounds with a pre-determined blur, or just some simple instructions such as "When editing your final video use a blur filter in your NLE to soften the background layer for a more realistic effect."
I realize that you only asked for marketing advice for your existing product, not how to change or improve it. But these are all things that would make your existing product more usable -- and therefore marketable.
Thanks, Alex. There is a Zoom function but it's kind of stuffed into the upper right corner of the tool bar. You're the second one so far that has mentioned a blur. I did a lot of thinking about what to include as far as effects and such. There are a lot of things that I could add but it would wind up being a lot more complicated and ease of use was one of my goals. Blur was one of the attributes that didn't make it. I left things out that could be easily done in the editor. My goal was to be able to create a background set and overlays, if desired with the least amount of work and prerequisite knowledge. I'm hoping to eventually get enough user feedback to determine what to add and remove. I'm always open to changes.
[Mike Cohen] "well, the rule of marketing is, tell us what you are selling and where to find it, including in your post on a forum like this."
Actually, the best rule of marketing is to find out what people are buying...and sell it to them...
Aside from the fact that people really aren't buying much of anything right now, it would be nice to have something to compare my product to that people were buying. But, to my knowledge, there is nothing else out there that performs the same function. Instead of trying to compete with other products, I found what I perceived to be a need and filled it. People may be afraid of it because of the fact that there is nothing else to compare it to.
You might not get much grief from the quickset concrete mortar people, but you may from the quickset tripod makers. Did you do a lot of name checking and googling before you picked the name? If you haven't really started yet, this may be the best time to make disruptive changes to the identity.
As far as tips on marketing such things, I would buy an ad on turbosquid.com for one thing, because that's a huge resource for people making, buying, and using such products. Also downloaddotcom for people who need something cheap in a hurry under deadline pressure. Outfits like sounddogs probably sell their audio clips most after five PM when there's no other place to go and you need it NOW.
My best tip and a customer request:
I think virtual sets are going to be a growth business, however, what I see looking around out there is a lot of product that looks more like FPS video game levels than practical environments. There is no getting around the need for a real artist and designer's touch, even in tools made for non-artists to use. So I would invest in high quality components for the "construction kit" approach, and offer some less-obvious but useful sets besides the typical newsroom/office/control room/bar/game show type sets. There are tons of office and bank simulations out there already.
I was thinking about this the other week while watching the incredible art direction on AMC's "Mad Men". It is really hard these days, because of security and other legal hassles, to shoot scenes in airports and airplanes, for example, or grocery stores, or churches, courtrooms, dentist offices, exam rooms and surgical suites, schools, or malls, or automotive repair bays, or movie theaters and their accompanying spaces, to name a few. This is a niche not yet well exploited, with a demonstrated need. I would indeed pay good money for virtual sets in those locations, with and without brand name product placements in them, that look believable. Accurate historical or period locations would be useful too, for people making dramas and documentaries. From Roman baths to a 40's diner to a Pullman car... you get the idea. Once you have the basic model built in whatever software, you can then sell or rent custom texture maps that re-dress the same object in multiple ways, some with green screen textures applied for use in 2 d compositing apps... and this lets you sell the same object multiple times. I think nobody offers quite this kind of collection yet and someone offering it would pretty much dominate the market space for that kind of resource. I would call it the: "You can't shoot there" collection. Or "Impossible locations".
I want 2% of the net for the idea.
I did check for trademarks and such on the name Quicksets and found none. This product was always aimed at the little guy. I would say that 90% of the stuff I've seen as far as quick promos and message type videos over the last few years was single shot, talking head sort of stuff. This is mainly what the little guy does. Most of these videos use the same shot throughout; never changing angles or zoom. I wanted to put the ability to create unique, personalized sets in their hands. I would love to do what you suggest but that's a bit out of my reach for now, cost wise. I can barely afford to hire myself. Only 2%?
Now, lets talk about the guy with the coffee cup...
He looks like he just woke up.
Well, I did say I threw the video together rather quickly. The next one will have someone with more "appeal", I hope.
Well Mike... you indicate that you are a software guy, not a video or production guy...
Then it might behoove you to hit up a buddy in the production world to help (or make a friend in that realm, if you don't already have one).
I think the usability insight that you get from having a real-world beta tester from someone who does that for a living could be invaluable... and maybe they could help you produce a really polished video that really shows off your product in its best light as well.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.