Sometimes I Wonder If…

… perhaps I haven’t overdefined my target market.  On the one hand, one of the nice things about making Bingo Card Creator pretty much built around the assumption that my user is a teacher is that its very easy to consider possible features and marketing campaigns in that light.  I can make assumptions, like assuming that she (I can assume she is a she!  Sort of a rarity in software development, I would think) is not as comfortable using her computer as I am using mine.  I know how she spends her day (she visits Bingo Card Creator during planning periods, lunch, or when lesson planning at home at about 9:00 pm), I know what her key problems are, I know that she absolutely melts when I say my favorite character in Harry Potter is Hermione (totally true, incidentally), and I more or less speak her language (I know what a manipulative is, for example, to pull a random word out of my search queries for this week).  All in all, I’m in a good place to be with regards to my target market.

But my target market isn’t the whole of people who could use Bingo Cards.  I sell a few copies (impossible to know how many, of course — I can only guess based on customer information provided, email addresses, support requests, that sort of thing) to folks who are not teachers but nonetheless click through 100% teacher-oriented advertising copy to buy anyhow.  I have had repeated purchases from folks organizing corporate events, where my icebreaker bingo idea is a natural fit.  And today I got, lets see if I can anonymize this a little… OK, pretend there is a National Association of Skateboard Punks.   There isn’t, to my knowledge (apologizes to the NASP if there is), but a customer about as non-elementary-schoolteacher as NASP wanted Bingo Card Creator for some advertising needs.  Now, I had certainly been of the opinion BCC was a one-use program (it makes bingo cards, and does nothing else, by design), but I know of folks who are currently using it to make worksheets, track patient progress in rehabilitation, make customized placemats (print the card, mount it, laminate — apparently crafty-types use computers now), and now advertise SkatePunkz2k6, the annual get together for the discerning skate punk.

I am considering, after my project calms down at work and my life returns to some semblance of normal, retooling the website a bit to accomodate these multiple user groups.  Minimally, I would like to have one “neutral” presentation which doesn’t assume teacher-hood for the program, and probably one pitch for corporate-types planning for the annual retreat (Synergize your best-of-breed team-building paradigm with Bingo Card Creator and achieve six sigmas of internal customer empowerment!).   Hopefully it will lead to a bit of natural market growth without losing my main focus on the educational market.

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3 Comments on “Sometimes I Wonder If…”

  1. Ali Says:

    I think Cho is all right too.. (at least in the movies!)

  2. >>Synergize your best-of-breed team-building paradigm with Bingo Card Creator and achieve six sigmas of internal customer empowerment!

    No need to write the copy now, you have it ready! 🙂

    I think you should expand the market a bit. But it’s one of those things that you didn’t know starting out. You could have tried to start out with a broader base, and found that it flopped. I think you were right to start out very niche… and expand that niche as your research shows…

  3. […] Every once and a while, Ilium Software tech support gets a heads-up about an interesting and unexpected use of one of our products. We aren’t the only ones; Patrick at MicroISV on a Shoestring had the same experience and his story prompted me to think. […]

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