I started out this series of posts by telling you where Corel Corporation stands today. I’ve also presented three ideas for improving the sales and marketing of CorelDRAW: Add Publishing Tool to CorelDRAW Suite, Get CorelDRAW in the Schools and Convert the Pirates. Today we’re going to talk about one of my personal pet peeves with Corel. Yes, this particular marketing idea could greatly benefit me. But I also feel very strongly that it benefits Corel Corporation and CorelDRAW users even more.
Corel does very little to support third parties who develop products and information related to CorelDRAW. Just so you understand the term “third parties”, we are talking about companies other than Corel Corporation. Many of the involved third parties are very small companies, often even a single person.
If you go to the corel.com Web site, can you find a list of books covering CorelDRAW X4? How about a list of upcoming training classes? What about macros and add-on products that extend the functionality of CorelDRAW X4? Any list of tutorials? I’m certainly not going to say you won’t find anything, but you certainly won’t find much. Now look at coreldraw.com and see if you can find those same things. I can only wish you good luck in your search.
Now let’s pretend that you don’t own CorelDRAW now and you are strongly considering buying it. When you visit Corel’s Web properties and find very little supporting training and/or add-ons, will that influence your decision to buy CorelDRAW or look at another product? I believe it has a very negative effect. How many potential buyers does this scare away?
If you are an existing CorelDRAW user and you are looking to improve your skills, can you find the resources to do that on Corel’s Web properties? Very doubtful.
I think the solution to this problem is very simple and would cost Corel a little bit of time and very little money. They need to make list of resources available. In fact, make it so that the third parties can add to the lists.
Books are an area where this will not be a huge list and it won’t change very often. Corel does sell my CorelDRAW X4 Unleashed book. Yes, I make money from these sales. Corel also makes money since they buy the books from me in bulk at a discount. They also sell other books on CorelDRAW X4. Yet they don’t carry every book and don’t even list all of the books. While most of you live in English-speaking countries, they also need to list books published in other languages. I’m guessing it would take less than an hour to put such a list of books together and prepare the list for publication on a Web site.
Corel does list their own tutorials on the Web site, but this is a very limited subset of all tutorials that exist. They also have a policy where they absolutely refuse to link to a tutorial that has a cost. Why can’t they just mention the tutorial has a cost and let the user make the decision whether to look at the tutorial or not? A perfect solution would be for them to develop something similar to what you find at vectorials.com. I linked to just the CorelDRAW section of the site. Anyone who has a tutorial can fill out a simple form to submit their tutorial for inclusion in the list. It will not appear until the tutorial is later approved. I can’t guess how long it would take Corel to set up a system to allow third parties to submit tutorials, but it probably wouldn’t take more than a day or two for one of their programmers to put it together. The only time involved after that is having someone at Corel look over the submissions and approve the submitted tutorials.
A similar system could be set up for macros and add-ons. In fact, Corel even had such a system a few years back. The problem was that users visiting the site could never find it. I knew it existed and I had trouble finding it. Jeff Harrison does a great job at macromonster.com of bringing together some of the best macros on the planet. But there are many other companies making macros and add-ons that extend CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Again, set up a system that allows third parties to list their macros or add-ons on the Corel Web site.
As someone who teaches training classes on CorelDRAW, I often hear from users about how few classes exist. There are probably more classes than users realize, but Corel doesn’t tell anyone about them! Of course, none of those classes are as good as my CorelDRAW Unleashed Boot Camps. 🙂 Corel could put together a similar list to what I’ve described to tutorials and macros, but I think it would be better to have that list displayed in a calendar format. That way it would be easy for users to find a class in the timeframe they desired. A similar calendar could be set up for trade shows where CorelDRAW and related products will be featured in some way.
If my fingers weren’t tired of typing, I’m sure I could list several more categories that need attention. Hopefully you understand where Corel has failed in this area along with ways they could very easily and inexpensively address the issue. If you think these ideas will be new to Corel, sadly that isn’t the case. I have been begging them to do this for years and my suggestions have fallen on deaf ears so far. By following this advice, it would definitely help third parties and would encourage more third parties to develop content. Yet this also helps CorelDRAW be used in a more productive manner and can extend its capabilities without any work from Corel. Remember, the third party products require that users own CorelDRAW! So this only helps to sell more copies. Lastly, the users benefit by getting more done in less time.
Do you feel Corel should implement the ideas I’ve presented? Do you have other ways to support third parties that I haven’t mentioned? Post a comment to the blog and let me know what you think! I’m going to take a day away from this series and I’ll be back on Monday with another marketing idea for boosting sales of CorelDRAW.