Posted by Duncan Jones on October 1, 2010
suffer get the benefit of dozens of briefings per year from hopeful vendors trying to convince us that they are the next big thing. Here’s a typical example of marketing-speak messaging that is an amalgam of all the mistakes that will ensure a vendor goes on our "not with a barge pole" list.
“Exvezium is a leading provider of Purchasing and Supply Optimization (PSO) solutions, focused on the automotive, retail, financial services, and government sectors. Customers such as Mutt Publishing, Shania Entertainment, and the Steiner Wig Corporation have chosen Exvezium for its very unique requisition automation, online tendering and award optimization capabilities. Leading analyst firm Milometer classed Exvezium as a Strong Challenger in its Sourcery Square 2009 evaluation.
"The four best practices for implementing PSO are getting executive buy-in, choosing a configurable solution, supporting constraint-based awarding, and maximizing event activity," said CEO, President and Founder Mark Ettingbabble. "Exvezium supports these through our combination of cutting-edge technology and best-in-class services."
What’s wrong with this? Here are my dirty dozen analyst pet hates:
 Brand recognition is important, so why do start-ups seem to choose a name more for its score in Scrabble than its memorability?
 Leading in what sense? Many of the companies that claim to be leading aren’t even in the top 20, either on the basis of size or functionality.
 Don’t invent your own product category. It confuses us and puts customers off. You have to waste too much time explaining to prospects what your TLA means, rather than how you can help them solve their business problems.
 You can’t focus on lots of verticals, unless you are big enough to have separate divisions that do that. If you’re horizontal across many industries, admit it.
 So you’ve got customers, that don’t impress me much. Unless they are large companies who are well known for making good IT decisions . . .
 . . . unlike this (hopefully fictional) Fortune 100 company that is diverse, federated, and with weak IT leadership, so that every vendor in the world can claim it as a customer somewhere.
 You’re either unique or you’re not, you can’t qualify it with fairly or very. And don’t claim capabilities are unique when they clearly aren’t.
 Explain what business benefits you bring, not what features you have.
 Please don’t highlight the competition. I know they're out there, I just don't want it rammed in my face. And Strong Challenger in the 'sourcery square' (geddit?) merely means you answered their RFI and persuaded Mutt and Shania to give you some reasonable references.
 If you had read my report on the subject, you’d know there are three best practices, not four, and these aren’t them. I've analyzed the subject and decided there are three, so don’t try to convince me that there are four. And next time, read my reports before you talk with me.
 Are these titles supposed to impress me? Maybe you’re going to be huge, but right now you’re the Blessed Leader of 30 employees. And if the VC company says "Jump," you jump.
 "Best" in whose opinion? I’ll judge whether you’re best-in-class, thank you.
Anyone like to add some more Annoying Marketing Babble of their own?