It's hard out here for a weasel

by Linda Sharps on March 5, 2007

You know, it's tough to be a marketing weasel in a company like Omni. I'm forbidden from telling outright lies, or padding product copy with too much rich, delicious, creamery hyperbole. I can't email all of our customers with Enticing Limited Time Offers because Omni has this totally RESTRICTIVE belief that spam is evil and only people who deliberately join mailing lists should hear from us and even then, I'm forbidden from using the phrases “reverses aging” or “consolidate debt”, and the word “enlarges”.  (Which is too bad, because I had this great campaign idea about OmniPlan Enlarging Your Productivity 2 To 5 Inches, but apparently that's a NO GO.)

Omni actually cares about being as genuine as possible, and not dripping sales-slime all over the place as we conduct our business. Then again, we are a business, and even though we don't want to trick people, even though we want you to make your purchase because you're happy with what we're offering, we do sort of have to, you know, ask for the sale.

So I'm hoping you can give us some feedback on an issue we've been struggling with lately. As you may know, we offer demo versions of all our software. Currently, we've got a few different unlicensed-mode strategies going on: OmniWeb lets you try everything for 30 days; OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, and OmniPlan limit you to 20 items or less, and OmniDiskSweeper disables the “delete” button. You can download one-day trial licenses for any product on our website, too.

Here's our challenge:

• We'd like to have a consistent approach to these demos

• We'd like to allow a potential customer to adequately try the features of a given app

• We don't want to be too annoying

• We do want to encourage people to make the purchase if they like it

• We can't let people use our software for free (well, except for OmniDictionary)

What are your thoughts? When you use demo software, what system works best for you—that is, doesn't drive you nuts, helps you determine whether you like it, and ultimately makes it easy for you to buy it?