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Notes from the Marketing Blotter...

2002.09.25--First, a general note of thanks...
Before getting down to the business of our latest Helix sermon, we’d like to take a moment and publicly thank the many faithful among you who have opened your hearts and your wallets to keep this show on the road. The response to our clarion call for upgrades has been very strong and continues to grow and every little bit has been going where it does the most good. If you haven’t performed this vital Helix community service yet, we strongly urge you to do so!

We’d also like to thank the many 5.0.2 users out there who have sent us their words of encouragement. The steady flow has become too large a torrent for two people to answer each one individually, especially if we expect to have time to do our "day jobs." Suffice it to say that every one gets read and when the cash flow is slow, your words are the fumes on which we run.

Here’s just a sample from a recent message:

I would like to remark at how valuable Helix is to our company. We are so very powerful and leaps and bounds ahead of our competition due to the wonderful software you have provided our company. We are using 5.0.2.

Second, a special note of thanks to the Helix medical corps...
Our recent mailing to Helix users in the medical profession was a huge success. Anyone who knows anything about direct mail will tell you that a 3% success rate on a mailing is pretty good and a 10% rate is wonderful. Our result was better than 30%, a result that can only be called unbelievable. But we have to admit to cheating a bit--we only mailed to doctors who were using versions of Helix no older than Helix Express 4.0, whose addresses were current, and we made them a great upgrade offer.

If you happen to be an physician who’s using an older version of Helix than the one cited above and you didn not receive an upgrade offer in the mail, please call us at 800.784.7018 and we’ll see if we can’t drag you into the 21st Century, too.

A lesson learned from that exercise...
One thing that was clear from the response to this effort is that there are lots of Helix users out there who liked Helix 4.5.5 so much that they felt they had to go no further to have a positive Helix experience. We’re talking about people who are not active participants in the Helix List and hardly ever even visit our web site. Until they heard from us directly, many of them actually had no idea that we had subsequently released 5.0, 5.0.1 or 5.0.2.

We, of course, believe that Helix 5.0.2 is a significantly better product than 4.5.5 and its predecessors and would love everyone to be using it. However, as we’ve noted time and again, this operation is running on a shoestring budget, so we need to focus our efforts on those most likely to respond positively. That means we can’t risk sending too many letters to older users simply because too many of those letters will come back unopened.

So if you’re using a Helix 4.5.5 product, don’t be surprised over the next days, weeks and months if a letter comes with a pretty exciting offer to upgrade to 5.0.2. Of course you don’t have to wait for the can always save us the 37¢ and call 800.784.7018 and we’ll tell you all about it.

Infrastructure update: Come beat us up a bit...
Time for a brief public service announcement: A frequent distraction for us over the past few months has been the refinement of interactions between our website and our customer database. Whenever some tiny error rears its ugly head we have dropped everything to get it cleared up. The result is that buying or getting information from our website has never been easier. In case you’ve given up in frustration because you couldn’t get through a download or some other technical problem has stymied your navigation of the Helix web, we urge you to try again, and if you run into a problem, don’t just go away or call us and let us know how you got stuck so we can fix it!

Status report on 5.0.3...
Work on the 5.0.3 maintenance upgrade is progressing nicely and if our other (i.e: money-making) tasks can be held at bay, beta testers can expect to hear from us within the next few weeks. And relax, folks! If you’ve come to our survey page and indicated your desire to beta test 5.0.3 and haven’t heard anything, that’s because we haven’t put the testing group together yet.

If you haven’t added your opinion to those of your peers, you can still participate by visiting the survey page.

If you’re handy with a digital video camera, we want you...
Helix users often write or call lamenting the lack of advertising, marketing or promotion for Helix. Most seem to feel that if there were only more of that, there’d probably be more of them (I.e., Helix users). While there may be some truth to this notion, there’s not a whole lot of money to make it happen. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean there can’t be...

For reasons we still cannot fathom, every week or so, without benefit of any kind of promotion, someone ventures onto our web site and purchases a copy of Helix. Perhaps they find the information there intriguing enough for them to take a chance. Taking the old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words," and expanding it to "a video is worth a thousand pictures," imagine how we could increase the likelihood of this happening if we had some "online commercials."

If you’re of a mind similar to the ones described above, and you have a lot of talent, a burning desire to see Helix survive and thrive and a little time on your hands, here’s a challenge: create a Helix QuickTime commerical.

We’re not talking about a magnum opus. We’re talking about a one- to three-minute spot. It should focus on some aspect of Helix that makes it work for you, like its flexibility. It should be shot in a real location where Helix is used. It should feature real people who use Helix every day. If you have some truly beautiful screens you’d like to show off, show them! If we like what we see, we’ll put them on our web site and give you credit for your creation. And we’re especially interested in anybody out there who is (or knows of) a recent Helix convert. If that’s you, maybe you can help us create a variation on the Apple "Switch" theme.

If we get a whole bunch of them, maybe we’ll ask the users out there to vote for their favorites and offer a prize for the best video. Call us on the toll-free line if you’d like to discuss this before hiring extras.

Now about that Helix sermon...
In our next major web posting we’re going to shift gears a bit and talk about a subject near and dear to our hearts. It’s such a deep well that it may end up being the subject of several postings to come, but you’re going to have to tune in next time to find out what it is. It seems we’ve already taken up too much of your time today, and we’re sure most of you would prefer we focused as much of our efforts as possible on that 5.0.3 beta. So please watch this space!

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