Remember the movie Miracle on 34th St? For those of you who live under a rock the movie is about a little girl and her mother meeting the real Santa Claus. Santa for reasons still somewhat unclear went to work at Macy’s during his short offseason between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and did something crazy, he told customers where they could find specific toys for their kids at the competition. At first Mr. Macy was beside himself until he realized that the method built life long customers out of those who heard about it. In the movie the idea was more about the Christmas spirit than smart advertising, but in reality this method works really well. Take for example Progressive insurance who shows customers competitive pricing, before doing so they had annual sales of $3.4 billion and since implementing this tactic now have annual sales of $15 billion. Amazon uses similar tactics, that’s why they sell advertising to their competition.  In our industry even VMware uses this technique in vCAC integrated ITBM to show you what your cloud costs would be for AWS, Azure and vCHS.
So what does any of this have to do with FUD?
FUD is mostly BS based advertising against your competition, it plays fast and loose with the facts in order to help drive sales and discourage customers from looking at the competing solutions or products. Maybe it’s that I am new to the vendor world or maybe just my customer first approach that was ingrained in me as a contractor and then implementer. Whatever the case FUD drives me crazy and every company is guilty of it.
The FUD slinging has gotten bad, and because of social media and youtube companies are able to reach mass audiences with their smear campaigns against one another. Sometimes even attacking individuals within the organization. Since I care more about the customer being successful rather than a product my company solicits I see all of this as useless babble. Others I know in the industry take personal offense when one company attacks another or a specific product. Who doesn’t understand their disdain, no one likes having their work or beliefs attacked. We all take pride in what we do, and products and solutions are done in the best way possible for each of us and there are always strengths and weaknesses. Positioning one product against each other we should be honest with what the pros and cons are and why we feel our product is the best without bashing on others hard work.
Utopian beliefs for sure, but the reality is if you the customers know the truth and trust you as a technologist they will be more willing to buy from you regardless of what company name is in your email address. Why don’t we all make like Macy and Gimbles and show the customers behind the curtain? Talk to them about what might be best for them, stop using every product like a hammer when sometimes we need a needle and thread. I know for one I try to do this whether speaking internally to product teams about the competition I am familiar with or in front of customers. I won’t go negative because at the end of the day the community is too small and I have friends at the competition who have poured their souls and sweat into making their solutions work. Respect to all of you and I hope you will join me in a campaign against FUD for all of our sakes.
Would you be interested in signing a pledge against FUD? Leave a comment and let me know, I’m happy to get one started.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover