Be Gentle with Orphans
A year ago, Mike Puglia found himself dismantling a user base he helped create. He was working at DimDim when Salesforce acquired it — and shut it down. Salesforce applied the technology to Chatter. Part of Puglia’s job was to turn off DimDim service for its users. Bummer.
Today Mike is on the other side of this equation, working at the enterprise scheduling company TimeTrade. A competing service, Tungle, is closing (it was acquired by RIM), and Puglia is trying to take in Tungle’s orphans without being a predatory jerk about it.
When a service shuts down, it’s obviously an opportunity for competitors. But there are wrong ways to proceed. For example, you don’t need to squeeze refugees for money. “They’ve already paid,” Puglia said. And for the displaced, the trial period may end up being longer than normal, since they’re accustomed to a competing solution.
Tungle users will get a full year of premium TimeTrade (the usual free period is 30 days); Puglia thinks the gentle approach will lead to greater conversion. TimeTrade is also being reactive, not proactive. Rather than trying to get Tungle’s customer list from RIM (difficult and maybe illegal), he’s monitoring social networks and responding to users asking for replacement services.
Even users who’ve demonstrated they’ll pay for a service in your market won’t necessarily pay for yours; they may well have decided against your product a long time ago. You have to treat these orphans very gently. “You have to really wow them,” Puglia says.
Audio of this column:
A message from Evernote
Get distraction-free reading, save Web articles to Evernote, and read them anywhere. Get Evernote Clearly.Back to Top