Channel Marker

Feb 15 2008   10:08AM GMT

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

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

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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