« DevCon Opening Keynote | Main | Developers Program team members travel to Boston in style »

AsWas shares how to market to the eBay Community

Debbie Levitt from As Was is one of our Call For Papers community speakers at DevCon this year. This morning right after the opening keynote, she shared some of her tips and fun personallity for marketing tools to eBay sellers at her session. She prefaced her talk noting that she talks to lots of developers who often claim to understand marketing concepts, but don't often implement well. Between being short-staffed and spending time on developing tool, marketing effectively to customers often gets neglected or treated as an afterthought by many eBay tool providers.

Naming your tool and making it findable was a well-covered topic, from what she describes as "Full Vessel" names, where you can tell what the company does immediately (e.g. EZ Lister and MyAuctions), versus Empty Vessel names, where you have no idea (e.g. As Was and Infopia), versus, Half-full (e.g. ChannelAdvisor and Marketworks).

A good rule of thumb she shared is that the harder it is to spell out your tool name or domain, the more difficult it is for customers to tell a friend, difficult to find your site. Unique branding is good, but not necessarily at the expense of findability.

After working with clients and recommending many different tool, she finds that eBay tools do not necessarily to enough to differentiate and position themselves to make themselves stand out, so it is difficult for many eBay sellers to tell the difference between their different tools. Targeting your audience and creating positioning statements are helpful exercises to avoid this trap. Do you want to target new sellers or experienced sellers? Just on eBay or multi-channel?

Many online users in general don't like to spend a lot of time reading, don't like to read corporate-sounding things. Friendly and professional is preferable to corporate-speak. Simple and intuitive UI and marketing are always better (Delyn's note: think Apple or Skype). In other words, don't leave your UI and customer service up in the hands of just your development team. If you want adoption of your tool or service, you are going to need to spend resources and attention on UI, marketing and customer service, and these areas often require different skill sets than developers building tools and services.

Debbie is the President of As Was, and she'll be blogging about eBay DevCon and eBay Live!

- Delyn

June 11, 2007 in Certified Provider, Developers Conference | Permalink