The learned customer

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
Booker T. Washington

From my experience in OSS vendor evaluation, most vendors’s marketing collateral makes you read between the lines of fluffy-marketing-speak to identify the real functionalities and benefits of their products.

In the connected world, a company is going to do a great deal of research before even speaking with you for the first time. If for no other reason than this research can be quick and easy via the Internet, but to also allow the customer to appear knowledgable when they do meet with the vendor’s experts.

So make the research easier. Make the experience easier. Give the customer what they need to see and give them a feel of your product capabilities and benefits before they even meet you.

Of course this opens the door for competitors to analyse your solutions, but this forces you to innovate ahead of them. You must innovate to stay ahead of the game. But the innovator has a head-start on the market because their product is already released and their competitors’s are just reaching the drawing board.

Enlighten the audience and they will become your advocate. Teach them and they will promote your product. Cisco has created an industry full of sales people to sell their products by offering CCNA, CCIE, etc accredited resources that can then go out into the market and offer expertise to their customers.

Can an OSS vendor become the ubiquitous accreditor of OSS expertise and in the process generate a free sales force? Perhaps this process will work better for an enterprise-level OSS rather than the tier-one telco OSS?

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