How to describe (and market) an app which doesn't fit any niche


We're a software startup and our app (desktop app) is basically a virtual folder manager where the virtual folders are also tags: you "place" files/folders into several virtual folders and you find them inside all of them (no file duplication), plus you can combine the tags/v-folder to get sub-groups of files.
If you move or rename your files/folders, the app "hears" it and the tagging follows the files around.

There is nothing like this around...the apps is NOT:
- a DMS: it does no version/revision etc.
- a file manager: doesn't move files
- a tagging tool: it's more than that!

It is: a v-folder manager, a tagger and a virtual file system. Basically something like Win-FS...

Assuming that no other app like this exists, the question:
*What do you do when you're into a niche that is not a niche yet?
*Which kind of slogan would you use?
*What about the 3 bullet-points on the homepage?
*Would you describe the functionalities or explain the problems it solve (but not the solution?).

[Guys, anyone who writes something here, will get a free license <-- I hope this doesn't annoy the moderators! :-) ]

We are at and this is our last release is on our forum.

(don't bother with the latest stable). Thanks!!!


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asked Oct 29 '09 at 09:55
Andrea D'intino
21 points

7 Answers


You need to force yourself into a niche or different niches. You're going to have a hard enough time geting people to buy your product, let alone trying to educated them on a concept they don't understand. It's an easy exercise, really.

Tabbles is like _______ except for it _______ and _______.

Tabbles is like combining _______ and _______.

Tabbles is a _______ that also _______.

Obviously, those aren't meant to be slogans - but more a way for you to think of and possibly explain your product to prospects. Once you can frame Tabbles using already-familiar reference points, you can build your marketing material and copy from that.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 10:16
Alex Papadimoulis
5,891 points


This is the classic trap with product development. You've created a product to solve a problem, not to serve a market. Solving a problem is great, but serving a market is profitable.

So you've created this app, now what? You need to find a market you can serve profitably. Since there is no "file tagging and more" market, you need to find a market that values what you've created.

Are you a killer photo organizer? Could this be used to help HR organize resumes?

I don't know what the answer is, so you need to visit digital photography forums, talk to someone in HR, etc., but find a market.

Which brings me to my point: Markets are conversations. You need to choose a market to service otherwise you don't know who to converse with.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 11:02
448 points
  • I really like your quote: "You've created a product to solve a problem, not to serve a market. Solving a problem is great, but serving a market is profitable." I've been there... – D Thrasher 7 years ago
  • Yeah, I think we all have. The "technician" part of our brain just takes over. – Ian 7 years ago
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2 cents: Your pricing page doesn't look very good*. It's confusing, has too many options, and putting the dollar sign after the amounts doesn't look professional.
For a sterling example, see BaseCamp's pricing+plans page.

*at the time of writing, obviously ;-)

answered Sep 20 '10 at 09:00
101 points


Read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. It is all about how you position, compare, market a new product.

answered Sep 20 '10 at 16:14
Mark Stephens
976 points


What would be interesting is to have a flash or javascript page where people can try it out, and so as they, and others, move files, they can see how it would work.

Nothing helps people understand like actually trying a demo of a product.

If you can have it support many people, so, I move a file, and I see that other files are in my virtual folder, with some id for the person that moved it (perhaps the last four digits of their IP address), then I can understand it a bit more.

I could create new folders and see how to create tags.

You will want to be explicit about which operating systems you support, so if it is WinXP+ and some versions of Linux, then spell that out. If there is some OS that isn't supported that is wanted then you can make it very easy to ask for it to be supported. They should be able to see poll results, or a bar graph, of which OSes are being requested, and if they reach a certain point, then you can start trying to support it. Perhaps they can give an email address if they want it supported, and want to know when it is ready.

I would suggest you do some random polling, by just asking to briefly show someone the app, and ask them:

What changes would I need to make for
you to be willing to pay for this.

Don't try to sell it to that person, make certain you understand that you just want their opinion, and just leave a business card, if they are interested later.
answered Oct 29 '09 at 11:10
James Black
2,642 points


I second James' recommendation of a quick short demo video that shows how it works.

One place you might compare yourself to is gmail's tagging functionality. Something along the lines of "Love the way gmail lets you tag your email with multiple tags? Our product lets you do the same thing with your files!"

People who have adapted to the tagging process in gmail will intuitively understand how your product works.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 13:29
Paul Mc Millan
601 points


I think you just don't realize that you are clearly in the "desktop search" niche. At the end of the day, your software is used to "find" documents on your computer.

It's just that you use a different approach.

So, you need to market your "desktop search" application to those customers who would be interested in your "graphical" and "tag-based" search methods.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 16:18
Ben Mc
421 points

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