The Importance of Brands

April 15th, 2014

Developing a BrandWhile many marketing experts are saying that brands are becoming less and less important over time, David D’Alessandro used his book “Brand Warfare – 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand” to tout the importance of branding.

Brands are the shorthand that consumers use to interpret the world, D’Alessandro tells us. He talks about three ways that brands help consumers:

Brands save time

There’s no need to learn all of the choices available in any particular category if you find an offering with a brand name that you trust. The author mentions that Children’s Tylenol outsells all other brands of acetaminophen combined. In this example, brand beats price.

This fact makes it more difficult to offer, say, consumer software because there are large companies with trusted brands. It makes it even more difficult to offer business software. As the old saying goes, “Nobody was ever fired for selecting IBM.”

Brands project the “right image”

If the food that you serve isn’t well-received, you can always say, “I selected the best brand” and you will be vindicated. Or so the argument goes.

Brands provide an identity

This seems to be true when it comes to choosing a brand of beer, automobile, or cigarette. And to a lesser extent, it applies to computer hardware and home consumer products, too.

How important is your software brand? How much effort should you expend building your brand? I agree with the people who say that branding is not as important as it used to be. Truth is, though, building a powerful brand can significantly increase your software sales.

     – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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April 2014 ASPects

April 1st, 2014

, Editor, ASPects

The April ASPects is online. Al Harberg writes about how to write a book review, and why, and about the future of the desktop applications market. I have announced the new web site for ISVCon, and gone back-to-basics on product documentation, with writing about passive and active voice. Check out 4th Person (missing…)

ASPects, April 2014

ASPects, April 2014

New Website and New Videos at
by Jerry Stern
The new website for the ASP’s ISVCon event has been launched at
     The new site is mobile-enabled, has information about the conference, and will serve as the signup for future events, when announced.
     There is a signup process to see the videos; the site will send the link for the 2013 video set on-request… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

Help the ASP Attract New Members
by Al Harberg
It’s easy to write a book review that your fellow ASP members will find useful. By following the guidelines below, you can quickly craft a book review of a recently published book that you enjoyed reading… (page 4)

The Future of Desktop Applications for microISVs
by Al Harberg
There’s far too much pessimism about the future of the Windows desktop/laptop software market. Truth is, small independent software vendors (microISVs) have a bright future for designing, programming, and marketing business applications for the Windows desktop/laptop market. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you’re planning your future software development projects… (page 5)

Passive Voice is the (Missing) 4th Person
Product Documentation Back-to-Basics

by Jerry Stern
Grammar teachers tell us not to write in the passive voice.
     They’re talking about sentences like these, where it’s not announced who the actor is, who did the action; we only know that the object had something done to it.
• The software was installed.
• The button was clicked… (page 7)

ASP Member News
Ransen Software Announces DXFtoHTML Version 2 (page 8)

News & Press Corner:
Microsoft Expands Cloud Services for Mobile Scenarios (page 9)
Marketers Struggling to Reinvent Themselves in Digital Age, Adobe Study Reveals (page 9)
Embarcadero Launches Appmethod, an App Dev Platform to Address Multi-Device Developer Challenges (page 10)
FTC Approves Final Order in Case About Apple Inc. Charging for Kids’ In-App Purchases Without Parental Consent (page 10)

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Smartphone, Tablet, and Computer Sales

March 7th, 2014

internet marketing word cloudIDC and Gartner recently released new figures about device sales in 2013.

Both market analysis companies reported that the number of mobile phones shipped in 2013 was more than 1.8 billion. That’s a year-to-year increase of 3.3 percent or 4.8 percent, depending upon whose number you believe.

Smartphone shipments, IDC reports, are up 38.4 percent in 2013, with 1.004 billion units shipped.

Gartner reports that mobile phone growth will be modest in 2014 (1.893 billion units shipped) and in 2015 (1.965 billion units shipped).

Desktop and notebook shipments were 299 million in 2013, and are projected to be 278 million in 2014 and 268 million in 2015.

     – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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March 2014 ASPects Online Now, Business ‘Why’, Tech vs Arty, Game Design Book

March 1st, 2014

, Editor, ASPects

The March ASPects is online, for members of the Association of Software Professionals. Al Harberg writes about how the markets have changed when it comes to choosing whether to create products for the general market versus vertical markets. Gianfranco Berardi will simplify every business decision you make. And he has reviewed Tynan Sylvester’s book, Designing Games.

ASPects, March 2014

ASPects, March 2014
“The ASP’s New Public Web Site is Live!”
by Jerry Stern
The new ASP web site is up & running, mobile-enabled & responsive, and open for business now… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News:
Howard Sobel is PR Chair, Creation of an Officer Search Committee (page 3)

“How to Simplify Every Business Decision You Make”
by Gianfranco Berardi
If you’re like me, you might have gone into business for yourself with complete ignorance about how to do so. I remember reading a few books on bootstrapping and entrepreneurship and finding that they had a few common concepts… (page 4)

“Book Review: Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester”
by Gianfranco Berardi
Many people have tried to create a comprehensive definition of games but have failed. Most definitions are either insufficient in that certain games are left out, or they are too broad and encompass too much that are not games. In Designing Games, Tynan Sylvester writes that games are “an artificial system for generating experiences…” (page 7)

“Vertical Marketing Success Stories”
by Al Harberg
The opinion of most microISVs is that developers can maximize their profits by creating and marketing software that reaches as wide a market as possible. Truth is, you might make more money if you create niche applications that target very specific vertical markets… (page 8 )

ASP Member News:
“Digital River Releases White Paper on Proven Online Merchandising and Promotion Strategies” (page 10)

News & Press Corner:
White House: Answering the President’s Call to Strengthen Our Patent System and Foster Innovation (page 10)
“Microsoft Enters into New Global Partnerships in Fight Against Cybercrime” (page 10)
“FTC, FBI Warn Consumers About ‘Cryptolocker,’ A New Breed of Computer Malware” (page 11)
“Microsoft OneDrive Launches Worldwide” (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter

More Software Products, More Differentiation

February 17th, 2014

Strawberry not such as other“It’s a site-eat-site world,” the Wall Street Journal tells us. Jack Trout includes this quotation in his book “Differentiate or Die – Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition.” And the context of this quotation is that “breadth of line is a difficult way to differentiate.”

Some companies, Trout points out, have used the range of their product line to differentiate and grow. He cites Toys R Us as an example. When parents don’t know what to buy for their kids, they visit a store that sells a lot of toys.

Category killers, or stores that sell everything at low prices, were quite a fad for a number of years. But now, specialty stores are making a comeback.

The Internet dominates many of our marketing decisions, Trout tells us. It’s easier for some stores to sell an enormous variety of products online. As a result, lots of stores have adopted this “breadth of line” approach to marketing. And since most of them have similarly configured competitors, they’ve started competing with each other on price.

Trout recommends that we not choose breadth of line as our differentiator because it’s too easy for competitors to copy our strategy.

I doubt that Trout would object to software developers creating a family of products – for example, light, standard, professional, and enterprise versions of an application.

And I doubt that Trout would advise us against creating a comprehensive range of applications in a particular field – for example, password recovery software for many popular application packages.

But don’t try to create software for every user on the planet. You’ll find that consumers will have difficulty figuring out your company’s brand. And you’ll find yourself competing with other software developers on the basis of price.

     – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

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ASPects for February 2014: Remote Software, Free Software, and Organized Web Sites

February 1st, 2014

, Editor, ASPects

The February ASPects is online now, for members of the Association of Software Professionals. Al Harberg writes about when it is not OK to give away your software, and how to organize your website for both people and searching. And I’ve added an article about what software or services to use for remote technical support.

ASPects, February 2014

ASPects, February 2014
What is Missing from the ASP?
by Michael Riley
I had just hung up the phone after talking with Gianfranco Berardi when I realized exactly what the ASP is missing. It’s called “esprit de corps”.
     The dictionary defines “esprit de corps” as “the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group”… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
4th Quarter reports, recent board motions (page 3)

Coming Soon: A New Public Website for the ASP
by Jerry Stern
Our new public web site will launch during February… (page 3)

Stop Giving Away Freebies
by Al Harberg
Too many software developers give away their products and services for free. While there may be times when it makes good economic sense to give away your software, you should be looking for ways to turn free products and services into money-makers… (page 4)

Organize Your Website and Sell More Software
by Al Harberg
Website quality can make or break an application’s sales. While the article you’re reading is not a substitute for a custom website review, here are some tips that have helped other
microISVs organize their web pages and sell more software… (page 5)

Remote Support, Monitoring, and Telecommuting: New Choices
by Jerry Stern
A lot has changed since my round-up article of remote connection software products in the March 2011 Issue of ASPects. There are more free products; there are more services; and some of the existing services have either been abused by phone scammers or have changed their pricing programs to the point where they are no longer competitive… (page 7)

News & Press Corner
FTC Tells Consumers to Hang Up on Tech Support Refund Scams(page 10)
Apple Inc. Will Provide Refunds to Settle FTC Complaint It Charged for Kids’ In-App Purchases Without Parental Consent (page 10)
FTC’s ‘Net Cetera’ Advises Parents on How to Talk to Kids About Internet Use (page 10)

ASPects Newsletter

Mishaps, Setbacks, and Tragedies

January 20th, 2014

surpriseLearn to distinguish between a mishap, a setback, and a tragedy. Chances are most of the things you are anguishing over right now are mishaps. So relax.

Richard Edler, the author of the book “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” attributes this quote to The Young Presidents’ Organization.

And it’s great advice about the bumps that you’ll inevitably find in the road as you build your software publishing business.

Or as Charlie Jones and Kim Doren said in their book “That’s Outside My Boat – Letting Go of What You Can’t Control” -

Worrying is rehearsing for failure.

     – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy


January 2014 ASPects is Online: Customer Profiles, microISV Lessons

January 4th, 2014

, Editor, ASPects

The January ASPects is available now in the members-only area of the ASP web site. Jessica Dewell, of, is back, and has written about how to know your customers. I’ve updated the news on CryptoLocker and how it changes the industry. Al Harberg writes about Microsoft’s business lessons for mISVs.

ASPects, January 2014

ASPects, January 2014

Looking Forward in 2014
by Gianfranco Berardi

Happy new year!
   With 2013 behind us, and a new year ahead, let’s take a moment to recognize where we are as an organization.
   You’ve just elected a new board of directors to tackle the major issues of the ASP. With their passion and desire, these directors are poised to make a big difference… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
Election results, bylaws motion passes, survey results (page 4)

5 Steps to Ascertain Who Your Product Benefits and How to Use That Information
by Jessica Dewell
As personal usage of the Internet is changing, business practices are also transforming.
   Before, the product (inclusive of the item being sold) was the focus. A clear message of the product, combined with a website optimized for specific key words, helped in connecting to the right group of people. Those individuals then decided if the offering matched their needs.
   While the product still is important–without it, we wouldn’t be in business–today the focus shifts toward the customer… (page 5)

CryptoLocker Update, & Version 2.0
by Jerry Stern
CryptoLocker continues to evolve. Since last month’s ASPects article, there have been changes in what CryptoLocker does, how the security community has responded, and I’ve tested some theoretical approaches for hiding backups.
   First, a review: CryptoLocker is ransomware, for Windows, which encrypts documents with 72 different extensions… (page 6)

microISV Business Lessons from Microsoft
by Al Harberg
For decades, software developers have had a love-hate relationship with Microsoft. Those of us in the software development industry love Microsoft for giving us the operating systems that have allowed us to build our businesses and feed our families . . .
   In 1997 Julie Bick, a former senior product manager at Microsoft, wrote a book entitled All I Really Need to Know in Business I Learned at Microsoft – Insider Strategies to Help You Succeed.
Her business primer provides some good insights that will help one-person microISV companies succeed. Here are some of her Microsoft-based ideas about running a business… (page 9)

ASP Member News
Avangate Named Best eCommerce and Billing Finalist: CODiE Awards 2014 (page 10)

News & Press Corner
Tuxera NTFS for Mac wins the 2013 Epsilon Award for Software Excellence (page 11)
OpenDNS Security Visualization Exposes Massive Scale of Year’s Top Cyber Attacks (page 11)
FTC Grants Approval for New COPPA Verifiable Parental Consent Method (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter

Tuxera NTFS for Mac wins the 2013 Epsilon Award

December 6th, 2013

informationTuxera NTFS for Mac by Tuxera Inc. was named the winner of the 2013 Epsilon Award for Software Excellence at the 13th annual European Software Conference. Each year, The Epsilon Award recognizes the best software application from the European independent software vendor (ISV) community.

The OS X operating system does not support writing to Microsoft Windows NTFS volumes. Tuxera fills this need with Tuxera NTFS for Mac, the fastest way to read and write Windows disks from Mac. Unlike other software that allows Macs to read and write Windows data, Tuxera NTFS for Mac employs a unique proprietary smart-caching technology that maximizes data transfer speeds, as it ensures data integrity.

Tuxera NTFS for Mac supports native extended attributes. The software automatically translates and converts file names to NTFS standards. Tuxera NTFS for Mac is fully compatible with third-party software including Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, and TrueCrypt.

Tuxera NTFS for Mac works with the latest OS X Mavericks and every version of Mac OS X starting from 10.4 (Tiger). Intel and PowerPC Mac hardware systems are supported, as are all versions of NTFS. The software works in both 32-bit and 64-bit kernel modes.

A single-user license costs $31(US). Multi-user license discounts are available. For more information, visit

The 14th annual European Software Conference will be held November 22nd and 23rd, 2014 in a location to be announced in March of 2014. Additional information about the Epsilon Award, and about the European Software Conference, can be found on

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December 2013 ASPects: Internalizing a Software Audience, CryptoLocker Backup Issues

December 1st, 2013

, Editor, ASPects

The December ASPects is online in the members’ area of the ASP web site now, exclusively for ASP members. Jessica Dewell, of, has written about how to characterize an audience for a software product. I’ve provided an update about CryptoLocker, and how it changes the technical model for automated backup software. And it’s election time, so we have director nominees’ statements, and more.

ASPects, December 2013ASPects, December 2013

The 2013 Annual Meeting is Underway
by Gianfranco Berardi
This is an official notice of the Annual Membership Meeting, as required by section 3.12 of the bylaws. The Annual Membership Meeting of the Association of Software Professionals has begun with the discussion period, started on Sunday, November 24, 2013, at 12:01 AM Eastern US Time.… (page 1)

Rethinking the ASP’s Mission
by Gianfranco Berardi
(page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
 (page 2)

Director Nominees’ Statements for 2014
Mahmoud Metwally
Michael Riley
Danny Lents
Dennis Reinhardt
David Boventer (page 4)

ASP News
Bylaws vote at meeting, section 4.12
Annual Meeting Started (page 6)

CryptoLocker Changes the Rules for Automated Backup Software
by Jerry Stern
There’s some new malware for Windows out in the wild, and it’s Ransomware. That’s not new, but CryptoLocker is the first ransomware product that a computer repair tech can’t rescue files from. (page 7)

Identifying and Internalizing your Audience
by Jessica Dewell
Creating a new product is always challenging. Putting a business model and sales channels in place for the new offering is equally demanding, and also requires a different skill set. Both of these statements speak to the efforts of the architect; but what of the role of the end user, the customer, in both these processes? (page 10)

News & Press Corner
Amazon Adds Two More Services for Mobile App Developers (page 11)
Intuit Makes It Easier to Develop, Find and Use Third-Party Apps (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter ,