The realization strikes like a lightning bolt, simultaneously stunning and disappointing RFID solution providers that have poured countless hours into developing and perfecting a particular product or service: End users really care very little about a vendor's technology.
Such indifference simply reflects the way in which the business world operates, observes Mark Hill, Avery Dennison's VP of global innovation and solutions development, and the general manager of the company's Framingham, Mass.-based RFID Retail Branding and Information Solutions group. "Most customers are focused on their business problems or opportunities," he says. "If you really want to work with a customer, you have to speak their language."
End-user indifference, while real and undeniable, is often overlooked or ignored by RFID solution providers as they communicate with potential and current customers. In advertisements, white papers, product literature, trade show meetings, phone calls, webinars and other marketing channels, solution providers continue to make the same mistake: putting their interests ahead of end users' needs and preferences. And the result is often annoyed end users and lost sales.
Yet, it doesn't have to be that way, says Alan Melling, the director of RFID business development at Motorola Solutions, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill. Instead of focusing on themselves and their technologies, he notes, solution providers must pay more attention to their end users. "Success with RFID requires the same thing you need for success with any other technology, and that really is about communicating with customers."
All too often, vendors come off like a job applicant who blabbers on endlessly about his or her degrees, certifications, awards, commendations, accolades and other achievements, while failing to describe, even in the most general terms, how he or she intends to help the prospective employer. Likewise, inwardly directed vendors focus on their products and services while failing to effectively communicate how they intend to help end users solve real-world business challenges or improve their bottom line.
"I've never seen a customer buy a solution because of the technology," Melling says. "They buy a solution because there's a business problem that needs to be solved, so you really need to focus on the business problem."
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