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How’s this for a compelling marketing slogan? ‘Boycott Software Sweatshops’

Spoke a couple of weeks back with Raza Imam, managing partner of Adaptive Solutions, a software engineering and custom development firm in Chicago about some rather, eh, extraordinary marketing tactics he is using to draw attention to his company.

Imam, who is 26 years old, noticed that small businesses that he was prospecting were looking more and more at offshore partners and, more important, that they had a lot of questions about offshoring in general. So he decided to create a tongue-in-cheek blog called BoycottSoftwareSweatshops to help address some of the questions he was getting about the benefits of offshoring and to tout his own onshore services to boot.

Typical topics that he has addressed include suggestions about how a small business can get high value, rather than low cost, for their project; possible culture shock that might come from using an offshore company; how to ask tough questions; and how to make sure deadlines are “real.”

Imam will be the first to admit that his firm is in somewhat of a saturated market, but he said that the blog has turned out to be a great source of leads — including inquiries from potential customers in Europe. When a person connects with him because of his blog, it results in a project about 80 percent of the time.

He has these three suggestions for any reseller or IT services provider who is thinking about using a blog to market their company:

  1. Use humor and make jokes. “One of the fastest and most effective ways to see if a person ‘gets’ you is their sense of humor,” Imam says. That’s especially important when you are dealing with a client remotely. So, it’s important for both sides that there is some kind of rapport. Your blog should be about building rapport.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make enemies. If you have an opinion, don’t whitewash it. Blogs are about creating controversy and dialog. You WANT people to take issue with what you write.
  3. Make lemonade. If you or your company has made a mistake, own up to it. Talk about what you’ve learned in the process. “People don’t want you to be a rocket scientist, they just want you to be reliable,” Imam says.

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist and channel communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. You can reach her at hclancy@swotmg.com.

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While I agree in concept that "perception & reality" don't tend to have a large overlap, the conclusions you draw here are a "different perception", not reality (unless you are saying that it's "reality for STAREast2013 attendees".

I was at STAREast (actually, I think I've been to the last 5 STAR conferences). I've been to 6 conferences *since* STAREast (not to mention several client sites). And am perfectly willing to put my reputation on the line (and have *no* fear of being proven wrong on this) in saying that STAR is *not* representative of "industry reality" (to be fair, neither is any other conference or organization).

It is a relevant point that just because something is "the norm" that doesn't mean "everyone is doing it". In fact the phrase "the norm" is derived comes from "normal distributions" in mathematics/statistics, where the middle 2/3 of observations are considered "normal" (as opposed to deviant, or outliers). So, one should expect to find 1/3 of observations (in a representative sample) to be "outside the norm".

If more than 1/3 of STAREast attendees work in environments "outside the norm", isn't it possible (likely even) that STAREast is *not* a representative sample?

Again, even if the so-called "norms" are *actually* norms, norms are not universal, they are the middle 2/3 -- so be careful when you say that "the norms" aren't reality simply because you have encountered a cluster of the outer 1/3... because the outer 1/3 is just as real as the inner 2/3.

--

Scott Barber
CTO; PerfTestPlus, Inc.
Author; Web Load Testing for Dummies
Co-Author; Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Contributing Author; Beautiful Testing
Contributing Author; How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing

http://www.perftestplus.com
http://about.me/scott.barber

"If you can see it in your mind...
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