Not long ago, I blogged about my great affection for the digital project management and collaboration platform Citrix Podio.
However I was critical of the lack of clear identity for the product, which makes it difficult to sell. Telling clients it does whatever they need it to do is a hit-or-miss proposition.
Now the Podio team has come up with a new product they’ve called Beagle … and they’ve managed to sell me on it purely by association.
Before I even explain what Beagle does, here’s how they’ve hooked me (and, I suspect, many thousands of existing happy Podio users).
Firstly, they clearly explained that this was something the Podio team was working on specifically to meet the needs of a large section of the existing Podio user base.
So naturally I and others in that user base thought “Oh, they’re doing something for me”!
Then, they took us on a journey of exploration and creation with them, as they interviewed potential users and tested prototypes, so that we could appreciate that they were committed to developing something we could really use.
Along the way, they changed direction, explaining that they had “hit on one of the biggest pain points in agency work”. Once again, they made us – the Podio user base – feel as if they were doing something for us.
The entire process was documented and shared with blogs, illustrations and videos, which not only increased engagement but built a sense of anticipation, probably even more so than the product deserved.
The email marketing campaign has been REALLY appealing.
Although there are no stats to measure the effectiveness of this approach in this instance, it worked pretty well for me and my guess is I’m far from alone.
So now Beagle by Podio is here and if you already have a Podio account you have access to the beta version automatically.
My conclusion is that they have done an outstanding job of leveraging existing loyalty simply be being loud and proud about this new product coming from the Podio team.
As I have admitted, I am a Podio fan – I think it is a brilliant product – so, to borrow a possibly inappropriate quote, they had me at “hello”!
I wanted to go on this journey with the Podio team, and that’s exactly what they are selling, or should be selling.
Regardless of the type of product or how good it turns out to be, in my mind it will one day integrate seamlessly and thereby enhance my favourite online tool and the world will be a better place.
Maybe people who don’t already use and love Podio or who don’t have the same way of thinking won’t ‘get’ Beagle.
But Podio users like me are easy to convert into early adopters of Beagle because we are open to whatever that team produces. It’s no-cost marketing by association.
In much the same way Apple knew that Mac (and then iWhatever) users would always be hungry for any other products that were designed with the same sensibility, the Citirix Podio team has understood that it’s far easier to preach to the converted than to try to convert philistines.
So what is Beagle?
It’s a tool designed to help agencies create better proposals, faster, mainly by allowing them to quickly pull the relevant bits from previous proposals and repurpose that content.
To be fair, it’s hardly revolutionary and (from my early assessment) not even approaching excellent, but what it is is brought to me by the Podio team.
They found a niche they felt was under-serviced and firmly and accurately targeted it.
The result is twofold: Podio is seen as expanding its product line and Beagle is able to leverage of the existing goodwill toward its ‘parent’.
So it’s a great example of narrowing your focus as well as marketing by association.
I will be very interested to see how Beagle is marketed to the non-Podio world (perhaps when it’s out of beta) and, like many other Podio fans, I will be barracking for it to succeed.
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