Software Publishing: Market It First Or Design It First?

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
TWITTER: dwaynewright

This is part of my ongoing series of articles about setting up your own software publishing business (cause FileMaker is very good option for doing that). This was originally published by me in a guide called FileMaker Software Publishing back in 2002. .

Would you be more inspired to finish a solution if first ... you picked out a cool product name, wrote your press release, built a web site and perhaps added some snapshots of your product screens. You haven't built the database but you have the marketing tools ready when you do.

Sounds goofy but think about it for a moment. Don’t get too bogged down in the details of how you are going to do build the database but exercise your vision of the completed product. Take this effort and shop it around. Show it to friends and potential customers as something that is "coming soon" and see what kind of reaction you get. If you have a little extra time and money, setup a booth at a trade show. Build a client list, provide a raffle for a free copy, ask for feedback, enjoy the experience and LEARN.

One of a few things could possibly happen. First, you generate so much excitement for the product that you are very jazzed about building it. You might even get some investment capitol from this effort. Second, it’s a dud. You couldn’t give it away and you learned a valuable time saving lesson. Third, a combination plate of responses. With this, you generally get enough feedback to influence your design stage to be much more productive with potential client needs. It's a thought that you might consider in the early stages of rolling out a new product.

Now for the downside of this method, you market a product that never sees the light of day and potential customers loose trust in you as a solution provider. A competitor could see what you have announced and beat you to the punch.

I’m not sure there is a correct answer to this but doing a “first pass” at the marketing materials for a product you are thinking about producing, will help your vision in the design and planning processes.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright -

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