View Full Version : Marketing effort..

10-13-2004, 04:39 AM
I'd like to make a suggestion that Newtek stop all product development, sell Tims helicopter and put all their resources into marketing.

For the past few years now I've seen that Newtek just hasn't hit the spot when it comes to marketing and in my opinion that's more important than product development when it comes to the success of a company.

Lightwave is fast becoming a 'stealth 3D' product, undetectable by radar, only visible when it's right in front of you - a rare occurrence.

There's been a flurry of comments around lately where LW has been used in many large productions (the most obvious of which is 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)' yet Lightwave fails to get the media attention that we would expect, yet consistently LWs rivals always get that exposure.

Moving on, take a look at the UK CGI Festival 2004 (http://www.cgifestival.com). Here's a small quote:

Check out on the show floor, the very latest software releases as well as new creative tools just launched at Siggraph from the leading manufacturers..

Take a look at the sponsors. Take a look at the Exhibitors. Do you see Newtek? No. Flying the 'Newtek Flag' is left in the (very capable) hands of Ben Smith, who's doing a masterclass.

What message does this give out? Well, I imagine that prospective customers would conclude that Newtek isn't a player in the industry.

Many years ago I worked on the development of a software product for a US. company. Technologically it was ahead of the competition - it took a while before competitors could match the features of the product. The standing joke was that the best platform for running the rival product on was a 35mm slide projector and it was certainly true.

Unfortunately, the 35mm slide projector was also the most important platform, because it generated sales and exposed the product. Once people had been wowed on the projector, they bought the product. That company is now market leader and the former technology leader has a small market share. In fact the product I worked on is much cheaper and far easier to manage than it's rivals (a view shared by tech support staff that have defected to the rival company), comparable technologically, yet it can't build its market share.

So Newtek, put your money and resources into marketing, even at the expense of development, because that sales presentation is the most important platform you have. Stealth products don't survive.

This isn't a dig at the marketing team. I just think they don't have enough resources.

In Europe, Ben Vost has done stirling work in promoting lightwave in various trade magazines, yet there aren't enough resources available for Newtek to show it's face at a CGI event in the UK, sponsored by all it's major rivals. You'd think that Newtek would be there, if only as an exhibitor.

I'm sure that Marketing resources in the US are also a problem.

I really wonder if the technology-led breakthrough that toaster/lightwave was now means that the company can't get away from seeing technology as the most important thing, whereas these days marketing is even more important.

Anyway, I'll crawl back under my rock now..


10-13-2004, 04:51 AM
Just another comment..

<soapbox>It may be that the existing Marketing team are too close to the product and the company to see the best way forward. I'd suggest that engaging a professional marketeer to look at the product independently within the marketplace, identify strengths and weaknesses (with product and company) and make suggestions for a way for Newtek to grow market share.

10-13-2004, 05:14 AM

Are you off to the festival yourself? I'm going to the one in my home city Leeds in November.

It is a shame Newtek are not one of the sponsors as everyone else is, including Maxon (who have been gobbling up potential LW users in the UK).

10-13-2004, 05:30 AM

Are you off to the festival yourself? I'm going to the one in my home city Leeds in November.

I live in the south, so London would be my option. I'd have to stump up 100 to see Ben in action and catch a glimpse of Lightwave.

A *huge* thank you to Ben for keeping Lightwave visible, particularly in his 3D World contributions.


10-13-2004, 07:03 AM
Newtek's in house marketing of LW has always been bad, especially here in the UK. The only effective marketing it has every recieved over here was via Ben Smith's promotion of it in 3D World.

Newtek Europe do keep up a good website (if usually a month or two behind on the news and offers), and they "may" be good at promoting it to select studios behind the scenes, but public promotions are almost non existant.

All too often Newtek preach to the choir, whereas it's the un-washed masses they should be preaching to. How many school's/colleges have Newtek approached with offers of dirt cheep or free software ?, how many teacher training packs have they produced ? How many non-3D trade magazines have they got adverts or articles about LW into ?

Look at this years Siggraph. Just about every 3D program manufacture had "ground breaking" news, Alias had aquired Kaydara and were touting their new version of Maya, Avid were showing off their new version of XSI and shaking the world with their staggeringly reduced price, Luxology created a big buzz with their public show of Modo, even Discrete created excitment with their official release news of MAX 7.
And Newtek ? They put on more or less the same show as last year with the same software and released a two line press release congratulating other people for their efforts in using LW.

For years I used to try and explain to new clients what Lightwave was when they asked what I used, usually by explaining that it was similar to MAX.
These days I just say I use 3D Studio MAX, it's just easier. The clients are happy because they get to think they have just employed someone that uses "professional" software, and I'm happier because I don't have to put up with sceptical looks from clients who think I'm using software that came off a free cover disk. :rolleyes:

10-13-2004, 08:17 AM
So you say to your clients you use Max? Are you still using LW and saying it's Max? I don't know about you, if that IS the case, aren't you just as guilty for not promoting LW as those you complain about?

I agree Newtek needs to improve thier marketing visibility quite a bit, but if you are using LW then let it be known every chance you get!! Why give some other company or product credit if it's NOT due?!!

10-13-2004, 08:38 AM
Here in the UK, LW is one of the least know apps but I don't get any problems or lose business because I say "Lightwave" when they ask what I use. I might get a look of puzzlement sometimes until I mention a few TV series or Films it has been used in.

There again, they hire me based on my general work quality and professionalism and not if I use LW instead of Max or Premiere instead of Final Cut Pro or DFX instead of After Effects or Freehand instead of Illustrator..... Sometimes, when I have customers around to discuss the 3D side of work, I also zip out FPrime which impresses. Sorry, but I can't see any reason why anyone would LIE and say Max instead of the very capable Lightwave that they are actually using. Why give credit when one is not due, be it to software or a person.

10-13-2004, 10:02 AM
So you say to your clients you use Max? Are you still using LW and saying it's Max? I don't know about you, if that IS the case, aren't you just as guilty for not promoting LW as those you complain about?

I use both, but increasingly MAX. Not for the name, but for the DWG support, the convert Acad polyline to wall command, and Vray renderer.

When I started architectural vis I concluded that although MAX was said to be the best package for such work, there really wasn't that much in there that justified the reputation, so I went with LW for it's speed. In the last couple years though, Discreet and and a number of it's 3rd party suppliers have come up with a number of features that do now make the reputation justified.

That is why when the company I was working for wanted a 3D package for arch-vis about 7 years ago I persuaded them to buy 5 seats of LW. But when they came to me for a recommendation this year I suggested they go with MAX.
Over the years there have been a few other people locally who have purchased LW, partly because of the demos I put on. So I have waved the flag in my time, it's just eventually you get tired of banging your head against a wall.

10-14-2004, 12:23 PM
yeah the newtek marketing could do with a bigger budget..
personally i turned a 3dsmax only college..where max was the only 3d app taught in to a college where lightwave, lightscape, combustion, gmax, bryce, wings 3d, 3dsmax and xsi [soon] were shown to students and my biggest share of students now own commercial lightwave seats..there's 2 people with commercial cinema seats and 4 xsi foundation seats and only one commercial 3ds max seat that was bought second hand [3ds max 3.1 with character studio 3.0]

there are about 6 student seats of max 5.0/6.0 which roll out at a mere 90 each.

no one has maya..not even a edu seat though some have ple none have ventured out with it to any degree seeing as there's no lecturer to help them with maya. [we don't use it at all]

i was going to add maya myself but where xsi came out at 299...well that changed my mind!

newtek need to get out there with some press about all the t.v. shows currently done with lightwave and the hi end film work too...as well as games such as doom 3.

but it's an expensive business to advertise and they arn't a super giant firm like autodesk with deep pockets.

as for the competition i think cinema is doing real well but it's starting to backfire on them a little as i see a few disgruntled cinema owners complaining about their pricing policy for modules and point updates..they feel they are renting rather than upgrading.

also interesting to see that no one has yet reponded to avid's xsi price drop...mind you i only recieved xsi this week...i ordered it on 27 aug 2004 so it may take some time for the new users to come on line and start other 3d app vendors to think about their pricing...and newtek are already in a good poition as their app is competativly priced and easy to learn with quality output..and there's a huge amount of book and learning material out now for it...something to think of when a new user goes for a 3d app.


10-15-2004, 08:10 AM
I believe that Cresshead brings up a very valid point. On a course where the lecture likes LW, it just happens that the majority of the students have purchased LW, even though the same lecturer seems to have also demonstrated other programs.
It is unavoidable, even if a lecture tries to be impartial, his/her preference will be clear to the students, whether intentionally or not.
This is why earlier in this thread I mentioned the possibility of teacher training packs.

Newtek's student version price is very good value, especially the five student licence pack which I persuaded one institution to go with. My main experience is with construction colleges, where more often or not there isn't a dedicated 3D technician on site. This is where Discreet score heavilly. Not only will their distributors provide licences dead cheep (often without copy protection, wink, wink), but there is often a full training package, including course breakdown, full telephone support and on site training if needed. Just right for a technician that needs to get up to speed with the basics quickly.

Now I know there is no way that a much smaller Newtek can compete with a global monster like Discrete, but if they want the student vote, it's what they need to consider.