“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
At some point in everyone’s life, they find themself at a proverbial crossroads. They are forced to make a choice that will impact the future. These decisions could create personal fulfillment, affect the people around them, and influence their role in an organization. OK, maybe that’s a little strong for the blogosphere, but what I am trying to say is there is a crossroads where one must differentiate the benefits of a product when the companies that sell them all claim their product is the best and will definitely meet or exceed the needs of their customers.
These days, decision makers not only put their job on the line, but also the future of their company when they pull the trigger on buying new equipment. And, let’s face it, those wacky marketing people (I can say that because I am one) haven’t made it any easier to discern one product from another. Let’s use a UHF RFID system, for example. One could pull spec sheets on 10 different controllers and conclude that “they’re all the same”. I have heard that exact phrase spoken multiple times from customers who were considering the purchase of a system. However, we all know that is very far from the truth.
As marketing folk, we have a great challenge in front of us in that we must try to make our product appeal to the whole market in which we are selling. Most of us fell into a monkey-see monkey-do mentality and our spec sheets are filled with speeds and feeds so we can compete with the next guy’s product. So, how is it possible that our customers can make an educated decision when everything appears the same? We listened to the market, and we wised up. Instead of just speeds and feeds we added words to help better describe our product. We added words like: “rugged”, “flexible”, “industrial strength”, “turn-key”, .etc. Now most spec sheets and product descriptions include speeds, feeds, AND fancy buzz words.
There are global standards in place to make sure that a product meets a certain specification. However, there are no global standards in place that govern the adjectives which marketing people use to describe their products. All is fair in love and war…and marketing. So, how does a customer looking for an RFID system make a decision on which system best suits their needs? Simply this: move away from the spec sheets and cut through the smoke and mirrors. Due diligence is the only way to separate the players in this game. If a company claims to have an “Industrial Strength” product, find out if that company has decades of experience in the industrial marketplace. Only those vendors truly know how to make an “Industrial Strength” product. They listened to feedback from their customers in the industrial marketplace and developed products based on their needs.
Retail based RFID systems won’t cut it in the industrial atmosphere. Price point, aesthetics, and branding all make that a tempting buy. The fact is those systems were designed with feedback from their customers…in the retail market. Get to know a vendor’s core competencies. Their products should reflect the markets they serve.
Don’t make game-changing decisions based on marketing materials alone. Pick up the phone and call the vendor and ask the tough questions. There is no magic in this world, but there are illusions. Taking the extra step to look closer at a vendor allows one’s senses to grow sharper.