For years, no one has questioned Apple’s product or premium pricing strategies. But now, in the face of increased competition from Samsung, Google, HTC, and Motorola cutting into the iPhone’s market share, the company is revisiting its strategy with the iPhone 5S and 5C. What lessons can SaaS companies learn from Apple’s gamble on price?
It wasn’t long ago that demand for the iPhone was skyrocketing. But with the emergence of Android and others, the U.S. smartphone market has become more and more saturated. In order to remain competitive, the company now finds itself looking to broaden its appeal in order to regain and capture new share, and expand into the developing world market. In order to pull that off, however, that likely means lowering prices, and for Apple (as for any high-end luxury brand) that introduces an interesting pricing dilemma:
Is it possible to maintain a premium value brand while introducing lower-end products into the market?
Think studying your competitors’ products and copying their best features is the best way to drive growth? Think again. As PopSurvey and Temper founder Josh Pigford explains, being a features copycat often leads companies down a one-way street to stagnation.
At some point, most of us have experienced “keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome.
Your neighbor renovates their kitchen, and you feel like you should, too. Your coworker buys a flashy new BMW, and all of a sudden your sensible sedan starts to lose its appeal. To a degree, it’s human nature. But left unchecked it can be quite a destructive and expensive game to play — especially when you run a software company and the Joneses are your competitors.
In this final post in a three-part series on software scalability, former PayPal executive and serial entrepreneur Mike Fisher explores the power of customer misbehavior, and explains why encouraging users to push your company’s product to its limits can actually help it scale.
If you were to poll a handful of people and ask them which companies were largely responsible for shaping the social media landscape, you’d likely get a few common responses: Facebook, Twitter, and, depending how old the person being surveyed is, MySpace.
One company you wouldn’t likely hear, however, is Friendster.
Yes, that Friendster. The company that largely pioneered modern social networking, raised $50 million in venture capital financing, accumulated tens of millions of users by 2002, and seemed poised to be the business that startups like Facebook and MySpace aspired to be.
So, what the hell happened to Friendster?
After launching a product, startups often ask themselves, “What next?” — and before they know it they’ve created a monster. Andrew Chen explains why you should stop overwhelming your product with shallow features and start highlighting its core value.
Editor’s Note: This guest article from Andrew Chen originally appeared on his blog as “Does Your Product Suck? Stop Adding New Features and “Zoom in” Instead on Your Product Design Approach”
Adding a Lot More Features Won’t Save Your Product
Everyone’s worked on a product that’s failing despite a ton of work behind it. It’s not for lack of great ideas, or a lack of bright minds working long and hard on the product. In the startup world, often this comes because after a new product is launched, there’s a Trough of Sorrow where features are often added to try to spark traction. After a few months of this, and a few shifts in direction, it’s easy to get a Frankenstein product that tries to do too much.
In the ongoing battle against churn, you may be your own worst enemy. SaaS consultant Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures explains why understanding and mapping your customers’ needs is key to keeping them engaged, boosting their satisfaction, and reducing your churn.
Churn is unavoidable, but SaaS companies that struggle with high rates are hurtling toward bankruptcy. Improving customer retention is the name of the game, and the best method for doing so is easier to tackle than you might think.
Snagging new customers is one thing, ensuring they become active, long-term users is another. OpenView’s latest report reveals three techniques that require cross-departmental efforts but yield big results.
While it’s no surprise that expansion-stage SaaS companies are sharply focused on customer acquisition, to truly be successful, they also need to pay close attention to what their customers do once they have begun using their product. In fact, driving stronger user adoption — among both paying and trial users — can be just as important to a growing software company as acquiring new customers.
Kyrie Robinson, User Experience Design Partner at Silicon Valley Product Group, outlines the keys to developing a streamlined user experience that your customers will love.
After being buried in code for months, developers can sometimes lose sight of how someone unfamiliar with the product will view and understand it. That’s where Kyrie Robinson, a user experience design expert and partner at Silicon Valley Product Group, comes in. She recently stopped by OpenView Labs to discuss why it is so important to design websites and software with the user in mind, and how impactful an intuitive user experience can be on customer satisfaction.
This high-level guide will help you understand the role of product management and walk you through the steps required to successfully recruit, align, and leverage a dedicated product management team.
In the early stages of most software companies, product development tends to go something like this: a company’s founders identify a pain point or need, assemble a small engineering team to build a solution that addresses it, and proceed to go through a number of quick iterations to tweak the product to better meet the market’s needs.
It’s a system that relies on innovation, flexibility, and customization to fuel growth. And, in that early (often unstructured) environment, it’s a perfectly acceptable product strategy.
User experience expert Kyrie Robinson explains why creating accurate, detailed user personas is the key to better UX design and happier customers.
Whether you are developing, fine tuning, or advancing your software you need to keep your users in mind. Although you know your product inside and out, your users will be approaching it from a different angle — often one you may not have considered.
Want customers to fall in love with your product during the free trial? SaaS marketing strategist Peter Cohen encourages you to consider the full picture and follow these four steps.
Just a taste. That’s the theory when it comes to offering a product free trial for your prospective customers. You figure that once they’ve had a little bite of what you have to offer, they will be ready to make a commitment to your product.