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Build it and they won’t necessarily come

By Erika Halloran

“So, I deployed this awesome thing, and everyone just logged on and started using it immediately.”
                             -said no one, ever.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of supporting a number of software and application projects through to completion.  The project leaders spent countless hours fine-tuning their implementation, and creating what they envisioned as a perfect solution for their users. 
A carefully constructed paragraph was sent via email or added to a monthly newsletter, letting the users know that it was ready.  “Great news!  The implementation is done and our new application is ready.  Just log on!”

Then they wait. 

And they wait.
As it turns out, a successful deployment does not end when the software is configured.  Guess what…  the users don’t care.  Yes, I said it.  Users don’t care.

If I’ve learned anything during my years in the software world, it’s that no one cares... until they care.  And then it’s “urgent!” And when it’s “urgent,” the users are not amused by the exciting images you’ve placed on the home page.  They’re not interested in pretty slideshows, useful RSS feeds, better cataloging or the different ways you can search and retrieve content.
The key to all successful product launches is adoption, and the most successful deployments are almost always accompanied by thoughtful and carefully executed marketing campaigns.  But you’re thinking, “I’m a researcher, not a marketer.”  Well, I’ve got news for you.  You are both.  If you want people to get excited, you need to create excitement.  These days, people are faced with so much noise that they will (perhaps unintentionally) ignore your great news – no matter how great it is.

So don’t stop at “we are now live.”  Get excited.  Name your application.  Create a campaign.  Send them a gift.  Run a contest.  Play a game.  Give them an incentive.   Heck, bribe them to log on!  You will not be sorry, and neither will they.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha - I just loved that quote ! We're all great at 'making it happen' but not so great at 'keeping it happening' !


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