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Marketing a successful DotnetNuke Business

DNN turned 10 last Christmas. As I was reading Shaun Walker's post I was suddenly transported back to 2003. I had just quit trying to revive my bankrupt business. After 4 years of CPR it was not going to come back to life and it was dragging me with it.

In this post I want to share how bringing together DNN and marketing helped me become successful.

Here you will discover three lessons to be learnt from my experience. All of them have a marketing perspective that I hope you find useful.


Cycles, loss and and change

There are certainly cycles in everything we live through. Late last year I realized I am coming to the close of another cycle, and this one is making me revisit and merge two earlier ones.

It is undeniable that change is the only constant and yet we all have a tendency to resist it. It is easy to understand why.

Change brings uncertainty. We hate that. Change impacts areas that were once predictable. We underperform in unfamiliar scenarios. So we prefer certainty, predictability, familiarity. But that is not enough to succeed.

And if you examine closely, there is a self-evident paradox. We like change. Inventions are manifested changes. Born as ideas that challenge the status quo, new products, services & cultural creations are nothing but change materialized or expressed. Most of us crave for the next new thing. We worship change.

Then, there's failure.

I was given the chance to be a brother. I failed. And I almost lost a brother. Literally.

I was given the chance to be a father. Twice. I failed the first time.

I did one semester of Industrial Engineering. Studied Journalism. Worked as a barman. Taught English as a second/foreign language. Created, hosted and produced radio shows. Managed a rock band. Worked in sales, marketing and advertising. Became a newspaper publisher. Bought a book distribution company. Went bankrupt.  Lost everything.


Meeting DotNetNuke and my success
I am forty-one now. And as you can see I've had my share of starts and stops during my life. It seemed to me that I kept going the wrong way.  Headed for more loss. But I wasn't. I was just preparing to succeed. DotNetNuke was the start. 

I will save the rest of this story for another post. So, to make it short (sort of), I was looking to create a web store and through the site I tried several of the kits that were offered as examples to use the newly spawn webforms technology. For some weird reason I can't remember, I settled on the IBuySpy Portal Starter Kit and not on the Commerce Starter Kit.

A few months later I tried to port the site to IBSWS the earliest incarnation of DotNetNuke. I was too new to I failed.

I did not lose DNN from sight though. There has been something magical about it ever since that Christmas and when DNN 2 came out, fearing another failure due to my limited skill set, I did the smart thing and rebuilt the site from scratch.

In no time I was good and quick at building websites. I won my first website contracts based on my unbeatable speed to implementation. And yes, since then my business has been successful.

I rebuilt my relationship with my brother to the point that he manages the business (and my money). And yes, I have learnt to be a brother this time around.

Although currently my business has morphed from development into business consulting (we help business multiply their income using the proven techniques and strategies I've learnt through all my failures). It was during my most successful DNN years that I earned the most precious experience of all. We do all of this business for a reason. Mine is fatherhood.

From 2007 to 2010 I worked with DNN for my customers from 3 PM to 2 AM. The rest of my time awaken I looked after my daughter and I am proud to say I was present when she stood up for the first time. I was there to witness and remember her first solid meal and through these years several other firsts. So yes, I am making sure I am a better father this time. 

Now, here are the three lessons 

  1. Your DNN business in order to be successful must solve a need. Otherwise it is pre-destined to be a struggling business. DNN solved my need for an easy to manage solution that could be used as a platform for my own offering.
  2. Failure is an opportunity for success. As I said, we love/hate change. Failure implies you are trying different efforts. Don't be afraid to fail. Learn from it and change your approach to avoid failure the next time.

  3. Success is not the end game. It is the mean to live a fulfilling life. Once I was succesful I was able to take vacations with my family, take days off and share sunsets drinking wine with my spouse.

Let me put this three lessons together and propose the marketing insight:

SOLUTION FOCUS: First of all, marketing your DNN business is not different from marketing any other business. Since all successful businesses solve a need, that's where you should focus your marketing. Make sure you solve a business need from your customer's perspective.

MESSAGE: Second, using a software metaphor, make your Marketing message a core critical feature. Consider your current results the failure needed to obtain future success. Improve the message with every iteration. A message that works needs to use the language that the customer understands. Lose the technical jargon. Even if you are talking to technical people make sure your message is focused around their goals.

CUSTOMER IS KING: Third, your customers are people, not companies. People have lives. Lives with dreams. Let them know your DNN solution can be a crucial component that helps them make those dreams a reality. Make sure 100% of what you do will benefit them.

I hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me through my profile or post a comment in this blog.


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