If I had a million dollars (to grow Logos Bible Software)...

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Posts 221
Jeremy White | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 7:36 PM

One of the biggest trends in software over the past few years has been the efforts different companies have expended to open up at least a portion of their systems to allow the development of a third party marketplace for add-in products.  This has developed to the point that one of the metrics being used to judge how good a new smart phone is how many apps are available for it in its corresponding “app store”.

For Logos, the most obvious way this could occur is by creating a commercial level of PBB and create a marketplace in which they could be sold.  This potentially increases the number of people promoting the Logos platform (come and buy my book – oh by the way you need to download Logos to read it) and a corresponding level of new users to market your premium titles to. It also increases the number of titles available on the platform to increase the chances there might be at least one book that a person deems interesting enough to download. Logos can derive revenue both from the initial PBB creator license as well as a commission on each individual sale, as well as the additional cross sell opportunities. For instance, let’s say a person wanted to market a study guide / series or something like that. It is likely the original content references a number of strategic titles which Logos has already developed. By allowing the writer to bundle those additional titles (at a price of course) that adds value to that “product” as well as increasing the value of the sale to Logos.

 I realize there are issues such as possible copyright infringement issues, quality control, etc but nothing that I can think of that couldn’t be overcome through a judicious mix of policy enforcement and limiting of liabilities. For something like this to work, it would need to be possible for the free Logos download to be able to display these commercial level PBBs (at least – if not even lower levels of the PBB license).

 

A song I wrote and recorded : He Who Sits Upon The Throne

Posts 26874
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 7:37 PM

Jeremy White:
For Logos, the most obvious way this could occur is by creating a commercial level of PBB and create a marketplace in which they could be sold.

I like this idea.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 376
Dan Sheppard | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 7:52 PM

Bob-

Based upon reading the other responses, I would like to amend mine.

I think that acquiring the resources must be a tough one.  But if you could do it more quickly, that would be a benefit and increase your revenue stream sooner.

Also, if you could get the existing publishers to respond more quickly in releasing their product to iPhone for example, that would be good PR for those that jumped on board early on. 

I am still waiting on Concordia Publishing to release the rest of my Lutheran resources.  I do not know what throwing money at that problem can actually do.

 

Posts 221
Jeremy White | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 8:11 PM

Another thought - and this is my last one unless you engage me as a consultant Wink - if you're looking for a way to market to seminary / bible school students - why not call as many institutions as you care to and get them to tell you the books students are expected to get and then offer them as a bundle / at a discount or some other value added proposition. I know the last time I was doing seminary study one of the first things I did once a found out what texts had been set for the course was to see whether they were available in Libronix format.

I guess what this approach leads to is a much more mix and match approach to bundling. Instead of the fairly inflexible Gold, Platinum, Portfolio, etc system where the titles are already prescribed - why not say x dollars buys you n credits (this way you can give a discount for larger upfront commitments) and then let the individual decide how they want to distribute those credits.

This way you avoid some of the "I don't want Catholic, or Arminian, or Piper or _______ resources in my library" angst.

BTW, I would agree with the need for a much more inexpensive entry level product as earlier suggested - I don't know how large the power user market potential may be but it would seem that any growth potential is going to found in "the long tail"  (hence the more titles that are available the better the hit rate) and the more casual user where you're effectively competing with the likes of e-sword and other low cost to no cost options.

A song I wrote and recorded : He Who Sits Upon The Throne

Posts 707
Russ Quinn | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 8:45 PM

There have been a lot of really good marketing suggestions offered on this thread so far.

Two of the better ones in my opinion:

 

  • Cheaper entry packages - I'd probably aim at free, $29.99, $50, and $99 packages 
  • Work with Professors at Bible colleges and seminaries to provide bundles that are reduced for their classes

In terms of investment, I think that Jeremy is spot on with his recommendation of a Resource Store where people can cheaply publish their own works (for profit or non-profit if they choose). Perhaps Logos could even partner with or do something like Lifeway's self publishing http://www.CrossBooks.com/ to produce the most cost effective small runs of printed books that are published.

I would also expand the store beyond self published original works and allow individuals to publish public domain works that they have taken the time to tag as Logos resources.

This might mean expanding the capabilities of the PBB tool to include the ability to OCR and tag PDF files.

I think their could be a lot of synergy with all of the full copies of public domain books now available on sites like Google books and archive.org by opening up these capabilities to users and incentivizing them with a store to sell tagged books.

I'm sure there are legal issues and quality control issues but that is a direction I would think might have some potential for future growth.

Posts 2827
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 9:00 PM

I believe Logos' future market is grown best through young pastors.  Seminary is the place to target.  I would put together a package of resources targeted for these students.  I would include enough resources to be of real value, but not too much.  I would want to give them the real taste of what Logos can do.  I would include just a couple books out of some of the major commentaries collections, such as NIC.

 I would put together different packages for different seminaries, taking into account the theology of each.  For example there would be different resources for Wesleyan, Reformed, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Pentecostal schools.

I would make these packages available to every seminary student for about $30.  All could afford that and a small fee insures interest.  I might then give them a discount on some type of upgrade.

I would also try to develop relationships with seminary professors.  I would seek their advice on future resources that would benefit their students.

Get these students using Logos early in their careers and they will be customers for life.  They will soon have too much invested to consider any other Bible Study Software.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 41
David Shaw | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 9:36 PM

Terry Poperszky:
I have upgraded my package twice in the last two months, yet my Logos sat untouched on my computer for the previous year. Why did I upgrade now? I have rediscovered my love affair with God's Word. 

 

This desribes me as well...

Posts 1417
Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 9:45 PM

I would buy the rights for the bible software glo and figure out how to incorporate it into logos. My wife seems to like that product. It is no scholars tool by no means, but it is entertaining for her with all the cool media.

So depending on how much buying the rights for glo costs

1. 10 more programmers just for the windows version... ???

2. Wouldn't need sells reps... it would sell itself Big Smile Ultimate learning mixed with fun... ( Glogos)

3. Could invest alot into marketing... Getting to more seminaries etc..

Posts 2736
Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 11:15 PM

TomReynolds:

If it was 10 million I would suggest that you licence/develop more foreign language Bibles and other resources. You have room to grow in the western world but long-term growth will come through overseas sales. MS/SAP/IBM are making a bundle selling software to Indians, Chinese, Europeans, etc (even taking piracy into account). I think you should look at providing access to every language over x-amount of world population. You can see a list by popularity on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers. It would make it better for missionaries and also people of those backgrounds who have moved to North America. I know you have made inroads with Spanish and I can only assume that hasn’t been very profitable by the lack of resources appearing. Consider another language (that has no competitors) and seek to become the go-to software for scholars and pastors in that language.

I agree with multilingual, international Logos suggestion. Not only to get all the Bibles of all languages possible, but to make it possible to have localized Interface. I remember time when Microsoft did that move and that had been a decisive factor making MS Office #1 office application.

I like also a PBB improved version idea because it would help to get some books in the local languages working in Logos, that would never get the enough commercial attention from Logos.

Another thing I would suggest very much would be much more sophisticated book reading environment (including the voice reading), working on all platforms (iPhone, newly coming Tablets, etc.)

Bohuslav

Posts 5
Onell McCarthy | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 11:50 PM

Bob if i had the million dollars to spend first i would have onsite training class so as to educate people about the full potential of the software. We have people are enthuastic about the software but do not know how to use it for years. More interactive learning videos to help with learning process including sermon preparations. More affordadable books meet the budget

Posts 205
Stephen Paynter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:42 AM

There have been some great replies so far ...

I particularly agree with the ideas of ....

   1) Filling in the base product range, especially at the low end (although there is also a "need" between Platinum and Portfolio).

  2) Providing more public-domain free resources (either user-generated, or Logos generated)

  3) Working to bring all newly published Christian books into Logos at the same time as the print version, at least from the main publishers ... ideally, by the publishers themselves, else Logos will be snowed under.

 4) Treating your workers well

I would also add ...

Giving some of the academic publishers such good deals that they can't refuse to let you put their journals, etc, in Logos format. Especially CUP!

Expanding to  include more general knowledge and fiction (Encyclopedia Britannica, or equivalent) - sermons sometimes require all kinds of knowledge and quotations.

Making sure Logos is available / usable on the latest electronic readers

Trying to bring down the cost of resources.

 

Personally, I'm not sure advertising is the way to spend your money ... In the computing world, the C programming language and Unix did so well because it was essentially given away free to universities ... so all students learnt it ... and then C was bundled with all operating systems / computers, so that the first compiler that was written for a new computer was always a C compiler. In the same way, getting a good free Logos library out to "everyone" is a better sales technique than training days or paying people to watch videos - especially if the plan is to take over the world!

Hope my ill-informed ideas spark some better-informed ones of your own!

Posts 1639
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:43 AM

Suggestions:

1. PBBs:
Make it easy (and inexpensive) for users to create and distribute free/public domain books in Logos 4 format. This is low cost and low risk for you, and the more titles available the more desirable the product.

2. Encourage advocates:
You have on-line forums and MVPs: are there other ways to support and encourage those who promote the product for you because they believe in it? Perhaps local user groups (e.g. meeting in seminaries to discuss how they use Logos, what resources, what for, …)

3. Awareness:
Offer a copy of Logos Bible Software to someone on the teaching team of each large church and seminary that’s not using it yet, including those outside the US. Follow up with a call a month later to see how they’re using it, or explain it if they haven’t (e.g. Explain this Screen under F1.)

4. Manuals:
Let us buy the manuals and training resources as e-books (by download.) Again, this is an inexpensive way to empower users to get the most from the product.

5. Quality:
I can't comment on whether you need more developers/testers, but you have some pretty knowledgeable users to satisfy, so somewhere in that million dollars there will be a quality maintenance component to ensure the existing users happy and promoting the product.

Particularly now that Logos is no longer in the bookshops, awareness is a big issue.

HTH

Posts 32
David Drew | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:51 AM

Bob Pritchett:
What's your idea?

Start developing a version for the Apple Tablet. That thing is going to be somewhat popular. You obviously can't start programming, but you can start thinking about the UI.

Posts 2206
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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 7:13 AM

OK Bob,

My suggestions for the "If I had...."

Focus: awareness of product, usefulness of product, availability of product to those that cannot afford it.

1. Free live training on Logos 4 around the country. Two classes: the first would be for those interested in Logos along with the basic setup. The second would be for more advanced features. People would need to register, but the classes would be free.

2. Provide significant discounts for the purchase of base packages or upgrades at these training sessions.

3. Develop a financial support program for both missionaries and students that is based upon need. Fund it each year as an endowment and allow others to contribute to it.

4. Expand marketing and sales department in a productive way.

Posts 4508
Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 7:31 AM

Well...there is a reason I'm not a large business owner...I'm not market savvy...

But my observation is this:

Logos appeals to a certain type of person:

The bible geekoid, and the bible geekoid who is in seminary.

Of all of the people who attend either my church or any church I'm familiar with locally, which would be about 500 people or so...

I'm one of 4 who use Logos.

Why?

I think that Logos is marketed to geeks...it's very powerful and so the average person asks:

"What would I do with that?  I have my strongs and my Adam Clarke commentary...why do I need that complicated bit of software?"

There is a mainstream nitche that's not tapped into...the average church goer.

I"m not sure if it's that they just don't care enough because they think that just listening to the pastor and then reading a devotional is enough each week, or they just aren't aware OF WHY they'd want this tool!

How about a campaign? Sell the idea to churches to have a "logos seminar' to show what can be done for the average church goer...and then show how affordable it is....

I wish I knew WHY it's only geeks....

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 2827
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 7:38 AM

I agree that the Loeb classical library would be a great addition to Logos. 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 1344
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 8:31 AM

Hi Bob,

Thanks for asking us.  As the leading Bible software vendor in the world, I would like to see Logos use your resources to tackle really big challenges and problems (BHAG's).  So here are my biggest frustrations as a Bible software user:

1) The need to keep using multiple Bible programs.  Can Logos use your position of influence and leadership to come up with a business and technical solution for the various major Bible software to work more seamlessly, and lessen the need for users to invest in overlapping resources from different Bible software vendors?

2) There are still many significant Bible resources not available in e-format.  Can Logos work with more publishers who are not currently not publishing electronically or doing so for very few of their available resources?  I'm really at a point that I don't want to buy physical books anymore (except for the occasional casual reader).  My ideal is whenever a new Bible-related work is published (Bibles, study Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, scholarly resources), it will be published simultaneously in paper and electronic formats.  Amazon is starting to do that with many new books available simultaneously in Kindle format.  Would like to see that happen with Bible-related works.

3) [This might be controversial.]  I see the current desktop software model becoming obsolete within this decade or sooner.  Regardless of whether "cloud software" will become ubiquitous soon, I think the current L4 model of frequent downloads and client-side indexing should be (optionally) replaced by simply logging on to a website and running my Logos software from within a browser.  Then I don't need to worry about huge downloads and long indexing, and I still get Google-like (or better) response times, and any software improvements are automatically released on your server side.  For those who are in parts of the world where there is not reliable or constant internet access, the offline model should still be an option.

On the marketing side, I see the chain of influence going this way: Seminary professors => Seminary students => become Pastors => Ministry leaders => Congregation.  So I would invest in marketing to the seminary crowd as the movers and shakers of the Christian ecosystem.  Shipping free CD's to pastors and others might simply be thrown away (remember the AOL free disks?).  To market to the pastoral and ministry leaders, I would invest in a team of people who would go to different churches and set up Bible software demo tables and Q&A/troubleshooting clinics (e.g. during churches' Sunday School promotion day or Christian Ed Sunday etc).  For the masses, with the (almost complete) demise of Christian bookstores (at least in my part of the USA), you may want to consider making an entry level package available through Walmart, Target, Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, Best Buy, etc.

On the global side, I agree with previous comments that Logos as the market leader should consider doing more to serve the worldwide church by a) making Bible tools available to missionaries, and b) making a big push for international Bible versions and resources. 

Peter

 

Posts 1
Jason DeMoe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 11:34 AM

Demo, demo, demo, demo, demo, demo.

I don't own Logos yet but I will be purchasing this week.  I've been to the site several times and looked around but I haven't yet found a place where I can demo the software of have it demoed for me.  I am choosing to purchase the software because a friend of mine uses it and says it's really good.  I'd love to see it myself - in real life - before I purchase it.

When our company was considering subscribing to Salesforce.com as a CRM tool we signed up for a webinar and watched someone at Salesforce.com demo the product live.  Almost every piece of software we have purchased since, we have signed up for the webinar demo first.

Go to pastor conferences, rent a booth at the expo hall and demo it.  Go to WFX and other similar conferences and do the same thing.  Go to seminaries and demonstrate the product on campus in cafeterias and book stores. Demonstrate the product regularly on your own website with opt-in webinars.

Collect contact info on everyone you demo the product for and have your sales team follow up.  If a lead goes cold, offer a limited time discount.

Posts 187
James Hudson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:09 PM

If you have a million/10 million to spend, you should

1. Scour forums for the most requested features

(Hint - NOTES has popped up again and again and again and again and again for about the last 5 years for both Libronix 3 and Logos 4) and give the users what they want (Hint: NOTES are deemed by your users (if not you) to be so important that users have even created a Wiki page suggesting alternatives - if you created a word-processor, OneNote alternative built in - just think of the forum traffic you would stop! - even this forum provides better options than notes in Logos!!)

********************************************************************************************************************

** If you have happy users they are your best PR people                                                                                        **

** - word of mouth / reviews probably bring as much income as direct advertising without the direct cost.  **

*******************************************************************************************************************

 

2. Provide  free packages for seminaries , libraries etc so that everyone is so accustomed to using Logos 4 that Logos becomes synonymous with Computer Bible Study - and that , to them, there is no other option (Think about why Internet Explorer dominates the browser market)

3. Similarly provide cheap base packages to all Christian book shops in US, UK, Europe, Australia etc

4. Make it your goal for every Bible-believer (your target market?) to have heard of Logos, know what it is AND key features ("Oh that's the one with loads of books, it's instant search, super quick loading, very cheap, great note-taking ability, staff responsive to suggestions etc") and not to have ANY negative reviews!

 

PS I don't think encouraging people to watch an introductory video is as effective as giving people a free base package to install (and thus have on their systems) and use!

 

Posts 18
Norman Low | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:43 PM

Change the way Biblical languages are taught for the majority of seminary students. Given the fact that most students will not keep up with the languages as professional scholars, further develop the approach that Heiser is working on with his video series. Most people would prefer to know how to use the tools rather than to memorize so much information. I'm sure there are people out there who can develop this approach and pilot it for much less than a million dollars.

From a business perspective, this will build up a user base far more effectively than any marketing that you can do. You can in essence, build up a portfolio of products much has Zondervan has done with their language publications.

 

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