Monday, March 3, 2008

Where's the beef?

Over the last few weeks I've been doing some competitive analysis in the widget space, visiting websites and reading press releases to try and learn more about how each of the companies I'm reviewing differentiates itself, how it solves its customers' problems, and why the deals they are doing are important. It's been a frustrating time to say the least.

After visiting every nook and cranny, I'm frankly still not sure of these companies' marketing or business goals.

Most sites I've visited appear to be written only for someone extremely familiar with their business and industry - so I have to ask - what purpose does the site serve? Pages littered with jargon to "describe" what they're doing, confusing copy sadly lifted in some cases directly from a competitor's site. There are surprisingly few concrete examples that would help a journalist, analyst or potential customer get their head around the opportunity or product. Where there are limited product descriptions, I find a lot of reasons why the company thinks their product is great, but not much in the way of why a customer might think so.

Just as befuddling are the press releases, touting partnerships that both parties are "very excited" about and lauding each other as "great businesses", but lacking any context or explanation of why the deal was done, what it means in the broader context of the industry, and why the reader should care. Where's the beef?

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