Competitive Marketing advice…

Last week I had to sit through one of those “competitive sales pitch” meetings.  You know, where Company A compares their product to Company B and of course, tries to make you draw the conclusion that Company A’s product is light-year ahead of the competition, even if it isn’t.

Now I’m under NDA, so i can’t disclose the brands, or in fact anything about the specs involved, but i can speak to the tone of the meeting.

It was mean, and spiteful, and nasty, and put me off Company A’s product entirely.  (Needless to say, we’re not buying any)

Listen.  I know every hardware vendor things their product is the best thing since sliced bread, (and really, what isn’t right?)  But if you’re going to do a comparison, make it about how great your product is, not how lousy your competitor’s is.  When you do that, you come off as petty, and bitter, and spiteful, and not very believable.

Show me the numbers.  And not the marketing numbers, the real numbers.  You say your array can do 1.5 million IOP/S, show me the breakdown.  You say your switch can do sub-microsecond switching, don’t forget to clarify that that’s only to adjacent ports, you say your backup software can backup a multi-terabyte system, show me that it can restore it as well.

And don’t show me slides with pictures of your parts and talk to me about how much better looking, prettier, well laid out, your hardware is.  It means nothing.  Functionality is everything.  Yes you’ve combined multiple redundant components into one chip, but now, if that one chip fails, you’re losing 8x the functionality.  (IE the only thing you’ve taken out of the system is the redundancy.)

I’m a big proponent of “you get what you pay for”  Especially in enterprise systems.  You show me a vendor who is selling their hardware for 10% of what another “comparable” vendor is, and my first question is “what is missing.”

That’s all.


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