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It is better
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(May 04, 2001) The product was so smart that they didn't bother to market it! With no advertising and a meager marketing effort, Skillset sailed its ship onto the shores occupied by ISearch. It's becoming quite a crowd.

That leaves some accounts up for grab like:

3Com Corporation, 3Com/Palm Division, 3M, 3M/IT Division, AirTouch Cellular, AirTouch Communications, AirTouch Paging, Cadence Design Systems, CUNA Mutual Group, Epson America, Inc., Ernst & Young, Fannie Mae, Gap, Inc., General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Nationwide Insurance, Ogilvy & Mather, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Seagate Technology, Sunoco, Technology Resources, Inc., Texaco, The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., TriNet VCO, University of Alabama, and Wonderware Corporation.
In it's literature, the company claimed 15% of the Fortune 50. (The "news page" lists others.)

Alexa ranks the site as the 326,735th most visited page on the web. With only a hundred or so inbound links and a website that is simply a glorified brochure, it's no wonder that no one believed their tagline. "You need web based. We give you e-business." Sort of rings hollow when you look at the site and the marketing infrastructure.

Any company that would allow the phrase "bi-directional data movement application" to appear in sales literature is bound to be dominated by the kinds of engineers who don't understand marketing or its value.

Just look at the phrasing and you'll see the reason for the failure: "You need web based. We give you e-business.". It's like saying "You Need A Haircut. We'll give you a transplant." The engineering arrogance oozes through through the light filter of technical marketeers.

You can imagine the environment. Laser precise technicians who think they know what customers need. Development budgets in the 50% of revenue range (10% is closer to the mark). A one size fits all attitude. A customer service function that looks like a profit center. Partnership and Alliance functions written by folks who have never worked a productive Joint Venture.


Meanwhile, the number of customers without a supplier is slowly edging up to the 30% of the market point.

If you are one of the unfortunate few, be careful. Financial Health is almost everything. Beware of companies who can't explain their products in English. There are too many engineers working there. A critical part of financial well-being is being able to tame the engineers.

Although much of our market has a distaste for the Marketing function, they are the real control on Engineering spending. Make sure that your next supplier has a reasonable balance of marketing and technical staff. The right ratio is between 1:1.5 and 1:1 (Technical:Marketing).

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.



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