Software Marketing Review: Skype

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”

Skype

Skype’s technology is very popular with consumers who mainly use it for free. See how brilliantly Skype “sells” without mentioning anything technical. Their messages are solely based on benefits and this provides them with a solid foundation to drive revenue.  See for yourself…

Below is a screenshot from Skype’s home page. This is the first image in a rotating  banner. Let’s look at what works well and what doesn’t.

I have marked up

  • The Good
  • The Bad
  • The Ugly

Skype Home Page (1)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice

  • 1. Skype is well known for its free PC-to-PC calls. Getting revenue for calls to phones is the core of their business model, so that’s what they emphasize:
    • It’s prominent, first screen in a rotating banner
    • The service is described as a customer benefit—it’s the cheapest way to call regular phones
    • They need to reassure consumers that it will be easy. There is nothing “technical” in sight.

     

  • 2. Clear image shows a call between a PC and a regular phone. You can see the woman on the computer is really enjoying herself.

    She used Skype to place the call. Her enjoyment invokes a positive emotional response, and remember buying decisions are based on emotion not logic.

  • 3. The benefit is cheap calls, but “cheap” can have negative connotations e.g. it’s only a cheap and cheerful solution.

    The phrase “little it costs” may seem clumsy but it works very well with “See how” as the active verb. It encourages the website visitor to do something while using low cost as a positive benefit.

  • 4. The call to action here is very low-friction. Skype could have made this a table of calling charges.

    Instead you search for the country for the person you want to call. Skype is easing the buyer into a transaction so smoothly they’ll hardly notice.

    The way Skype has worded this, means they are helping you the customer, all you need to do is to tell them which country. The normal way seems like they are asking you for personal information and would be likely to get a negative response.

The Bad. Could be improved

  • No bad software marketing here.

The Ugly. Examples to illustrate what you should not do

  • No ugly software marketing here.

This is the second image in a rotating banner.

Skype Home Page (2)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice

  • 5. “Share, celebrate, collaborate” are excellent clear examples of how customers can use this technology. The message is all about the customer usage, all positive active verbs without a technical feature in sight.

  • 6. This image is a very clear way to illustrate more than two people on a group call. Most software vendors would have used an architectural diagram to show 3 PCs technically being connected via a cloud. Showing the PC with a web cam provides context so it’s absolutely clear what’s being shown.

This is the third image in a rotating banner.

Skype Home Page (3)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice

  • 7. Another excellent, clear way to show how Skype can be used. In this case, video calls on iPhones. The context is established by showing two different phones with thumbnails for the person making each call.

This is the last image in a rotating banner.

Skype Home Page (4)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice

  • 8. And for business, the tone is more serious. No people having fun here.

    The bulldog clip and pens are cleverly placed to reinforce this is for work, and note the (almost subliminal) bar chart image in the background.

    The stakeholders likely to be evaluating Skype for a business will be from Finance, Facilities, Purchasing roles. So the messages here are focused on the benefits for those roles – controlling and allocating costs.

Best Practice

Customers are looking for how they can benefit. Messages based on customer benefits work. Lists of technical features turn off most buyers.

Join the Discussion

  • Do you agree?
  • What do you think Microsoft will change when they take ownership?
  • Suggest any examples of best (or worst) practice for software product marketing

Please add a comment below or contact Giles @ Smart

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