How do your customers make decisions?

Looking on a typical vendor web site, one finds varying levels of product information. Ideally, your potential customers will find the information they need to make a decision—or at least start making a decision. The best web sites combine business results with supporting technical detail to meet the learning needs of different buyer personas. Often those sites also include customer testimonials and quotes but of course, everyone realizes that only the best quotes have been picked. I mean, really, what vendor would include lousy quotes in their web site?

However, those negative impressions generally exist somewhere on the web. Contrast the typical enterprise technology vendor with those for consumer products. A primary difference is that consumer products are more often sold through distribution—and not exclusively. Therefore the seller is more inclined to encourage unbiased commentary than the product vendor. Check out the product information on Amazon or Musicians Friend. These sites are for product distributors rather than product developers. They offer third-party comments from respectable sources and from regular people. I generally find the recommendations helpful—if 9 out of 10 are favorable, I’m inclined to buy. I can quickly dismiss the statistically irrelevant, either pro or con.

On Amazon, you’ll find book blurbs from the publisher followed by commentary and recommendations from customers. Check out the discussion on David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing including my favorable review plus a few others.

On Musicians Friend, hundreds of people report that they have bought and loved the Shure SM58 vocal microphone. Hmm, maybe I’ll get that one since people seem to like it.

Since it’s unlikely you’ll have this unbiased information on your website, where will your customers go to find it? Where are your products being discussed online. And what are they saying about your company and your product? Do a web search for your company and product name and you’ll find out.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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