Poser should repeat one of DAZ's smarter commercial moves
One of DAZ's smartest moves was briefly making all of their main figures free--I'll always kick myself for not having grabbed them. (I didn't think I was interested in Poser then, and I didn't realize they were only free for a short period of time.) It created a lot of buzz, and gave new users a reason to buy things for them.
Poser should make Paul, Pauline, and the teen models free for a few days, and they should consider including older figures too. It would make 3D users take another look at Poser, and it would help the Pauline line become a stronger presence in the 3D community.
Wait, I don't understand this post. The Paul and Pauline etc models come with Poser as part of the default Poser content. There are add -on morphs for Ryan 2 such as Tyler, and there are stand-alone figures such as Miki4. Perhaps Miki4 could be the target of this post ?
@ibr_remote I'm under the impression that users of older editions of Poser and users of DAZ currently have to buy Paul and Pauline. DAZ users have no reason to check out a model that will cost them money, and users of older Poser editions are mostly willing to stick with DAZ's 4th generation or move to Dawn and Dusk. As a result, the Pauline line gets neglected.
I had thought when Poser announced Pauline that they were going to try to create an alternative for people who would like a more modern model than Victoria 4, but who do not want the hassle of importing Genesis 3. Doing that requires a core user base. DAZ has been very smart about giveaways and huge discounts to create their base. Poser can't do that with their software, but they could do it with their figures.
Oh, earlier versions of Poser cannot use the weight-mesh figures like Pauline and Paul, and the stand-alone Miki4.
These figures (Paul/Pauline, Rex/Roxie, Miki4) have a self limiting audience because you need a specific version of Poser to use them.
Perhaps they should be marketed more heavily to encourage upgrades, but the point is that these figures were released to show off the newest features of Poser, thus you need that version (at least) to use the figures.
Didn't many of the old free characters from DAZ require an intermediary pack (Morphs++) for use with a great number of for cost third party add-ons?
After establishing Victoria and Michael as 'free' brands, now they charge for those brands. It seems to me that the notion is to give away something which isn't exciting for free, then by utilizing third party vendors (giving them free copies of Victoria and Morphs++), to enable DAZ to make additional money by requiring those things that DAZ charges for.
@ibr_remote Is that true of none of the earlier versions? I had thought there would be some backward compatibility since they're selling the models as standalones.
@meshbox DAZ has mastered the "first taste is free" approach. You do need to buy morphs to use some add-ons, not not all. Hivewire took a similar approach to introducing Dawn and Dusk.
DAZ made their base figures free for a very long time, through several generations. However, this primarily served as both a publicity strategy and a marketing strategy. In other words, the figures being free were a good initial publicity move to draw attention to DAZ's custom content for Poser and, by doing that, to draw attention to its other products, like DS. In a few instances, however, these figures were free from third-party agencies, like 3D magazines and file hosts, which didn't serve, necessarily, to immediate draw site membership, but did encourage further investigation.
However, the best approach is not to always offer such things "free." As you have experienced, the better approach is to offer them only sporadically as "free." This can more heavily encourage a potential user who is already interested in acquiring the product as the "wait for free" becomes... unbearable and the delight at finally having succeeded in getting the product "for free" a reward, in-and-of-itself.
Heavy discounts to the level of "almost free" is a better solution as it requires an "investment" in the figure by the consumer. How much do we value "free stuff?" There's an implied diminished initial value for free items that's only countered by experience/use. And, if that free item is heavily hampered and stripped down? Then it becomes "worse than free" because the delighted expectations of being able to accomplish what one has seen in the commercial is not usually immediately forthcoming. :)
"Great to have a free figure! Awesome! Crap... can't do anything with it, won't be the shape I saw in the ad, texture looks like poop, how the crap do I pose the hands... terrible product!" :)
So, an occasionally deeply discounted, full, base product is a much better marketing solution that encourages the consumer to personally "invest" in the item, giving that item some tangible form of base value that the consumer can then "build on."
More important than any of this, however, is that SM should pay some attention to "content marketing and production" for its product. The product, Poser, can no longer "sell itself" right out of the box when compared to other products out there and the rapidly developing market for 3D applications including full-suite modeling and rendering apps, full suite real-time high-quality rendering game engines, easy-to-use simple creation apps and the like...
SM does, IMO, need to take heed of the strategies that others have used. However, they need to pay attention to the same sorts of strategies that any developer of a product incorporates, not just DAZ.
Proctor & Gamble are the manufacturers of "Crest" toothpaste. So, what do they do? There are "Crest" toothbrushes. They've made Crest easy to use by putting it into several different sorts of containers. (Squeeze/Pump/travel-size/etc) Further, their ads show smiling faces, children being protected from evil cavaties, happy users finally getting that fist date with their "crush", flavors galor, add-on products like toothbrushes, dental floss, tooth-whitening packs, fresh-breath strips, mouthwash, etc..
In other words - "Brand Marketing" and good brand stewardship has made Crest Toothpaste the "standard" for not only just toothpaste, but implied "oral hygiene."
In my experience, a business that stays "hungry" and acts like it is the business that succeeds. DAZ "stayed hungry" and, for better or worse, decided to feed itself by adopting guerrilla marketing techniques. Outside-looking-in, DAZ changed a bit, perhaps, in part, due to new ownership/management, and began "cutting the cord" with a scalpel, then a knife, then a somewhat blunt club... (They have yet to use a meat-cleaver.) They took their marketing efforts, which were very substantial and very "hungry" in their own domain, and applied them, successfully, to their own unique, proprietary, fully controlled, product line. They have done well with that. (Though, it's a bit over-the-top, these days, with unabashedly sale-frenzy pricing schemes and marketing manipulation that I'd, personally, be embarrassed to use... :) )
Keep in mind - Poser is responsible for building DAZ to what it is, today. Further, the lack of content production and content development by various license holders of Poser led to the formation of third-party content-development sites/businesses. Not a bad thing, really, but that complacency or lack of development by license holders of Poser (various) led directly to competition, as third-parties eventually developed their own competing products.
SM has a wonderful product on their hands that is technologically extremely advanced and capable. It's packed with power! But... it lacks "flash" and is low on general appeal, because its "content in a box" is not generally developed any further than what's in the box. That leaves consumers "wanting", but not in a good way, since "wanting" is realistically perpetual.
What do we see in the form of marketing, stewardship and sales strategy? Well, it's got a nice picture on the e-box, amiright? Very nice! And, there's some hour-and-a-half long instructional vids that show you how complicated and technical it is. Uh, OK, I guess that's tasty for engineers and professional production houses. And, it's got a sort-of-but-not-quite-might-be-affiliated-with-but-I-don't-really-know storefront in Content Paradise that occasionally has new products for sale, but nobody would ever know, since there's no marketing that is done for it and, even if someone went there to look, it has precious few items built for the human figure line that comes with Poser.
SM's Poser/graphics development budget and sales are not inappreciable. They're significant and, I assume, much of that effort is focused on the technological capabilities of Poser and supporting general software sales and stewardship and housing/salaries for the office and permanent staffers. (The financials are publicly available, since SM is a publicly held/traded company.) I do not know, however, what their target market is as individual/personal vs corporate/business sales aren't figures I can discover. It may be that SM sees itself as already permeating a market I'm not involved in as a personal, not-for-business, consumer.
I don't know what SM makes from "content" sales from Content Paradise or anywhere else, for that matter. It may actually be that SM makes nothing at all from such sales. If so, they have little practical reason to promote "content sales" on top of Poser sales. Poser users, however, would be interested in purchasing content and developing content would certainly influence future sales.
I'm not going to go into the "captive audience" approach, since I think that's an unwise strategy in this marketplace, considering that Poser is primed to... hook itself out to many, many, third-party development applications for gaming and other 3d/2d applications that can make use of the formats that it supports. (Which I think SM should do, enthusiastically!)
But, on the specific subject of "free base figures" - Individual consumers need flashy paint-jobs and "rich Corinthian leather" as well as a solid engine performance, reliability and safety. If the car comes with extras, that's great! If it's cheap, that's even better! But, if its cheap, gets you from Point A to Point B, yet doesn't have a radio and the windows don't roll down, you're not going to think its a very nice car. And, if it's free? If it's something you're going to park in your driveway, you'll probably buy the car that sells for a dollar that has a radio included rather than trying to convince yourself you'll be happy with taking the free one.
(Sorry for the TLDR, but this is a subject I've been preaching on since "Day 1.")
Everybody wants a date with the hottest chick in town.
All the rest comes second.
And? If the hottest chick happens to have the best marketing manager?
That are SM's weakest points : The quality of the default figures and the lack of Marketing.
How many bells and rings from SM when SR1 through SR6 were released?
That is SM's weak, and the DAZ strong point.
I do not know what Smith Micro has planned for the future of its Graphics products... I hope but things do not look that good. Following is a quote from their 4th quarter Earnings summary released 2 days ago.
"Looking at our product team, we have replaced the senior management team across the Board...With the restructuring has come significant changes throughout the worldwide office locations. First off, we closed our Northern California location which housed the majority of the graphics division. We are in the process of rebuilding our graphics engineering team in our Braga, Portugal location. We have also significantly reduced our staff at our Aliso Viejo location and will rely in the future on both our Pittsburgh and Belgrade teams to pick up the workload. We now have expenses aligned with the realities of our present business case. I am pleased with the overall progress to-date in restructuring our business and will now push forward with a much leaner and well positioned company. I am looking for a profitable 2017 and the resumption that free cash flow generation primarily in the second half."
What is going to happen in the future is speculation but the way things look right now I think content creators who rely on it for a living would be smart to start looking at other platforms if they have not already.
Myself I am an animator and have collected more than enough content to realize my stories. (I just hope they keep the license servers running.) If they went into bankruptcy I would guess that Poser would be sold off but the question is who would buy it and what would they do with it?
p.s. the quote comes from here. which also has their overall sales figures.
I also want to apologize if the above sounded alarmist. I just hope Poser stays around as I have invested much time in it recently. That is relative of course. I have only been doing 3d rendering for under 2 yrs. now.
People have been predicting the demise of Poser since version 2 or so... possibly earlier than that.
20 years or so after its first release, it is still here.
Corporate restructuring is nothing new, not even in Posers history.
@morkonan No need to apologize for the length. How Poser can be best for its users is interesting. Well, except to people who're weary of the subject, I'm sure. :)
@vilters I do get that impression.
@david_macrae Thanks for that. I would expect it's all the more reason for SM to try something risky,, but I understand the argument against it too.
@shrvdavid I kinda of figured that. I hope it continues. It is my favorite app to animate in. I personally love Poser. (I have been learning Blender and Carrara for modeling etc.) And I know ver 10 does not phone home so it would keep working. I just really love the new comic and geometric tools in ver 11. They hold their own against any app out there. I also feel one does not always need a big behemoth app that does everything. I like targeted apps.
I think it does come down to marketing. First Daz does have the best online store. I find it almost painful to search and shop at content paradise. Also everyone always points out that daz is free... But is it really... How many plugins do I have to buy to do what I do... dynamics.. keymate graph mate for animation.. bullet physics... cloth room.. etc. Is it really any cheaper. Poser also has debut. So it does seem the difference is in marketing and I wonder as someone said is if that is how they are targeting their audience.
For those who don't want to register to read the entire financial report, it goes on to say, "nnnGraphics revenue was $5.1 million, a decrease of $800,000 or 13.5%. From a non-GAAP perspective, total year 2016 loss per share was $0.72 as compared to a loss per share of $0.02 in 2015. From a balance sheet perspective, our cash position was $2.2 million at December 31, 2016, a decrease of $10.7 million from the beginning of the year." Yikes!
Beta tapes were better than VHS, but they got out marketed. Amiga computing produced very good machines in their heyday, competing very well with contemporary Apple and IBM machines, but even an Amiga fan-zine said that if Amiga won the contract to advertise KFC, they'd call it 'warm dead bird'. Poser lifted the marketing game when Chuck came on board, but it may have already been too late. I don't really know what to suggest, but maybe something like an official Poser youtube channel with lots and lots of tutorials to showcase what the program can do? I know Chuck did the intro stuff, the Poser 101's, but they're very much introductions (hence 101), but where are the 201's and 301's and the master classes?
Blender's documentation is horrid, but the video tutes are EVERYWHERE... and some are even good. An official (as in vetted) Poser channel couldn't hurt, and promoting the capabilities of the software is very much within the purview of the marketing department.
@piersyf I can't give you 2 upvotes for your post so here you go! I would like to ad that they need to identify Poser artists that can really make beautiful art with the program instead of some of the stuff I see that looks like it was done in Poser 4.
@piersyf Blender is now going commercial on tutorials
@ghostship There are some very advanced renders over at the official Poser Gallery run by Smith Micro.
For those who don't want to register to read the entire financial report, it goes on to say, "nnnGraphics revenue was $5.1 million, a decrease of $800,000 or 13.5%.
With the note that 2015 saw a Poser release, likely associated with an effect effect both on revenue and on cost. 2016 was a year without such. Revenue is one thing, profit is something different.
Short term bookkeeping does not go well with multi-year product cycles.
Continuing on this, the expected upturn of results for end of 2017 could suggest Poser 12 and 12 Pro are going ahead.