Software Marketing Review: GemStone

See how other companies market their software. This is part of a series of reviews looking at examples of software product marketing: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”


Gemstone is an example of niche software for a highly specialised use. Their marketing is deliberately very focused for the specific technical audience that would use this type of software. There are advantages and disadvantages with being so tightly focused.

Below is a screenshot from Gemstone’s product page. .

Let’s look at what works well and what doesn’t. I have marked up

  • The Good
  • The Bad
  • The Ugly

Gemstone Product Page

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice

  • 1. Even for those of us who do not know what flow cytometry analysis is, we can understand the gist of what’s being described here. There has been a problem with this type of analysis for decades – the results have not been reproducible and science-based. Gemstone offer a solution and that solution is patented.

    The technical language will give specialists in the field reassurance that this software company knows what it’s talking about. The patent probably means no-one else has a solution.

    If you are writing for a very specialized audience you should include technical vocabulary. But keep your sentence structure simple so that non-technical readers can follow. And keep your content focused on what the software does, the problem it solves, who should use it and what the benefits are. There are two reasons you should do this

    • Some people reading your web site will be less technical such as journalists, investors,  industry analysts, management, purchasing staff, accountants… Any of them might be able to help you if they know what your software does.
    • It will be easier for your technical audience to follow what you do and for them to convince their management why they should spend money on your software.

The Bad. Could be improved

  • 2. A box shot is better than no image at all. A photograph like this can help to indicate that the web page is about software. But this photo does not make that completely obvious.

    This boxshot could be mistaken for a book. To make it more obvious that it’s software I would show this next to a PC with the DVD case open. But my first choice would normally be to use screenshots so that people can quickly see what the software does.

  • 3. Gemstone is software not a paradigm. This is important because a visitor needs to be clear on what type of solution you’re offering. Is it knowledge you’re sharing, consultancy, training classes, a book, a webinar…?

    Always be clear. Anything that adds to a prospect’s confusion means they’re less likely to buy.

  • 4. “Why Is It Better?” is a weak heading. People won’t know whether “better” means better than other software, better than the prior version, better than doing it the old way…

    Instead of using a generic heading you should talk about the “pain” being solved. I would use something like “Reproducible Every Time” or “Traditional Errors Eliminated”.

The Ugly. Examples to illustrate what you should not do

  • 5. Avoid using internal terminology like “Sales Sheet”. Write for your audience, include the words they would use.

    Within your company you may call a piece of collateral like this a sales sheet, but your prospects are not thinking about sales. They are thinking about their problem and whether you can solve it.

    Calling it “Gemstone data sheet” would be a bit better. But I would recommend using something like “How Gemstone eliminates traditional errors” and use a PDF icon to show they will get a PDF document.

  • 6. It’s not cool to call your features “cool”. “Cool” could be used to describe features that are not essential but are fun, clever – they are “showing off”.

    The rest of the material here seems very serious and academic, so “cool” also seems out of place for the audience.

    Internally you may think of these features as being impressive, the ones that help convince prospects to buy. Instead of calling them “cool”, link them to the benefits. For example “Data Visualization Highlights Important Results Immediately.”

Worst Practice

If the audience for your software is technical, do use the appropriate technical vocabulary. But keep the structure simple and use images to show what your software does.

Unlike Gemstone, ensure the marketing for your software is clear and understandable for a technical and a non-technical audience.

Join the Discussion

  • What would you do differently?
  • Do you think it’s possible to make technical information understandable to a non-technical audience without dumbing it down?
  • Suggest your examples of best (or worst) practice for software product marketing

Please add a comment below or contact Giles @ Smart

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