Why You Need to Identify Solution Competitors in Your Marketing Communications

Channel Partner News is in the business of educating business owners and IT departments about the different ICT (information & communications technology) managed services available in the marketplace and comparing the various ICT solution providers who offer the ICT managed services that business customers are considering and/or actively shopping for.

ICT vendors who are confident in their competitive advantage in the marketplace AND who specifically identify their direct competitors in specific solution categories are going to outsell ICT vendors who fail to directly name their competitors in marketing communications.

I've been telling vendors they need to do this for years but most ICT marketing professionals are either too shy or too insecure to actually "name names". Well I finally found an example of an ICT marketing professional, Chris Heggem of VMware, who's neither shy nor insecure when it comes to directly comparing his firm's solutions to his firm's direct competitors and that's why Chris is the recipient of Channel Partner News' very first "Lighthouse Tech Award" for "Demand Generation Marketing".

Why Identify Your Competitor's Name? Because your prospects don't know your firm's name...

When your prospective customers are searching for a solution you offer they aren't Googling you company's name. The search phrase they're generally Googling is the name of your biggest competitor, the name of your solution category and possibly a "differentiator keyword" or two

To provide an example of how this works, let me explain how I discovered Chris Heggem in the first place. This past week I was involved in a multi-vendor integration project cut-over conference call that included an appliance from a company named F5. Suffice it to say the cut-over did not complete during the course of the 90-minute conference call and all the call attendees went back to the drawing board to try to re-work the integration steps so it might succeed on the next attempt.

Since I'm not an IP engineer so much as a "hunter and gatherer" of IP solutions, I decided to start Googling F5 to see what the interwebs thought of F5's solution sets and which F5 competitors might have a solution that was getting better reviews. In just a couple minutes of searching I discovered that F5 has a history of providing hardware-centric solutions and is attempting to transform itself into a software-centric solution provider like all F5's competitors who were taking business from F5.

When I Googled "F5 Hardware to Software Migration" I found the following on the web:

F5 vs. Avi Networks: 9 Reasons Why Hardware Is Better Than Software

F5 BIG-IP LTM Better Than A Software Load Balancer? Think Again

The only reason I discovered that Avi Networks competes with F5 is that Chris and his demand generation marketing associates anticipated that I would be searching for alternatives to F5 and wrote internet marketing pieces that had in their titles the actual words that I was putting into my Google searches.

In under 30-minutes I quickly discovered that F5 has recently acquired NGINX to provide the software solution the F5 hardware solution needed and that VMware had recently acquired Avi Networks. By the time I completed 60-minutes of research I could hold my own in any IP conversations about how "legacy harware based load balancing" solutions have evolved into "software based, multi-cloud application delivery network" solutions and how F5/NGINX is in a pitched marketplace battle with VMware/AviNetworks contesting every opportunity to upgrade F5's old harware customers.

Did Chris Get in Trouble for Beating on F5 & NGINX in Every Other MarCom Piece He Wrote? Uh, no...

I'm sure there are a lot of reasons VMware aquired Avi Networks but somewhere in the mix had to be the fact that Avi Networks is seen on the interwebs as being equal to or better than F5 - and I'm pretty sure the interwebs would never have noticed Avi Networks had Chris and his demand generation team decided against comparing themselves directly to F5 and NGINX over, and over, and over again ... 

Has VMware Asked Chris to Show More Restraint? Apparently not...

We salute Mr. Heggem, his team and whomever inspired them to pick up the "sales engineering bat" and consistently hit single after single through the legs of their employer's biggest competitors.

So should you "name names" and directly compare your company to your competitors? Don't ask me, ask Goldilocks...

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