Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bad Marketing Theatre presents...

Amongst my pet peeves are such diverse elements as bad science, acceptance of innumeracy, and marketing-without-thinking. Marketing-without-thinking means going through all the motions of what marketing textbooks or white papers say you should do, without really knowing why you're doing them. "Checklist-based" software design and meaningless "Feature/Benefit" tables are among the most common examples.

Recently, I found this chart on the Alienware web site. What's wrong with this picture?

Helpfully, the chart explains that lower numbers are better. Unhelpfully, it doesn't provide numbers. (Not to mention that percentage-based comparisons of temperature aren't terribly meaningful to start with.)

Here's another, from Logitech's web site. I was looking around at their "digital pen" technology, and noticed that they had two different versions, which differ in price by $100. Fortunately, there's a "Compare Products" link. Unfortunately, this is the chart it gives you.

Six products are listed: three cradles (all with identical "features"), two pens (each with identical "features"), and ink. The two pens each include "PC", "USB", "Optical Sensor", and "Ballpoint Pen". The ink refills, however, don't include "PC", "USB", or "Optical Sensor", and the cradles don't have "Optical Sensors" or "Ballpoint Pens". That's a bit of a relief--I would be a little concerned if I had to attach my ink to the PC in some way.

A little intelligence goes a long way...