Jeff Bier at BDTi just posted a column at InsideDSP about how companies make a mistake when cutting back and skimping on communications. What a relief that someone in a marketing role recognizes that.
Just this week I was talking to a company that said they really don't need to make an outreach to their customers because they are "all on board with our technology." Really. He said that. He believed that every possible customer; every person who has direct decision-making authority in signing the check to buy the product in each customer, has signed off. The only problem is, none of the customers have agreed to let the company say who the customers are, nor have they actually delivered a check.
Several years ago I was working with a semiconductor company that believed they had their cash cow -- a computer company named after a fruit -- completely nailed down. They didn't need to promote any more to get into that customer's products. In the last month I worked with them before they went with a cut-rate publicist I supported them at the CES conference in Vegas and two guys walked up with badges saying they were from the company's big customer to look over the new products. These two guys were from a stealth operation within the customer design unit.
Well, they looked at the new product and turned to the sales VP. "If we knew you had this, we would have considered you for the design-in process." As a result, the client did not get into the blockbuster new product that came out a year and a half later. Late last year, the client's products were designed out of the cash-cow product update. Today, that client is never heard of except when they don't hit their sales numbers.
There is a conventional wisdom out in the world that engineers talk to each other, so we really don't need the media or a lot of marketing efforts. All that is needed is to go to trade shows and crank out cookie-cutter press releases on the web. That wisdom was born out of the cost-cutting that began 10 years ago. We can see what the ROI of that wisdom is.
Jeff Bier, good job. Now I hope someone begins to listen.