The other day, I was reading a thread on a popular IT community. The original post was asking how people liked a specific product. The follow up posts (about three quarters of them) were all from first time posters in this community, ALL supporting this product and touting its wonders. Umm, all of those posters joined that day. Not a one of them were established at all. Something is fishy here… this is not the first, or (I am sure) the last time we will see this. I have seen this exact thing on multiple communities over the years.
Vendors, marketing, and sales people all need to realize that IT pro’s, by nature of what they do, are a pretty intelligent lot and you are not going to be able to pull a fast one on the majority of them. Now if you are looking for stupid, gullible customers, well, then by all means go for it. But, if you are looking for long term customers who will be able to talk about your product with authority and real knowledge, do NOT do that!
IT pro’s, while being intelligent, (well for the most part; there are a few that make you wonder) are also an extremely hard bunch to get their attention and keep it long enough to learn about your product. As a vendor and/or marketing person, you have a very tough job ahead of you to get that attention. You really have to spend a bit of time with this group and learn what makes them tick. Oh yeah, have fun learning that if you aren’t technical because, well, they don’t got time for that! They are really smart, but they are also overworked, underpaid, and exhausted all the time. Normal hours for them are usually 8am -3am, most every day of the week. Vacation? What the heck is that? So, they only have time for what they understand and can get real technical value out of. Showing things off in a webinar or at a trade show is not enough (and you will be lucky if there is good attendance), if (1) you are just giving the sales pitch, and (2) they can’t ask those in-depth technical questions.
I have been lucky enough to get to work with IT pro’s, both in day-to-day operations of a meta-MSP and on various communities. I love talking to them and getting to know them. I have learned what makes them tick, how to get them to pay attention to things and how to get them connected with vendors.