Tuesday, July 27, 2010

But why yours?

In his always entertaining “My View” video blog (“Pushing Buttons”) Andy Wilson makes a plea for vendors to provide more technical detail on their products. He argues that machine vision engineers want to know how a product works and not just what it does.

Much as I respect Andy’s opinions, I’m not sure I agree with him. I don’t think that most users of machine vision components really care that much about what goes on under the hood; they just want to know what it will do.

More specifically, I think they want to know what it will do for them, and that’s where I will agree with Andy that much sales literature is sorely lacking on detail.

The problem is that it’s very difficult to differentiate between competing products. This is true of lighting, optics and software, but especially cameras.

Let me give you an example: (I know it’s unfair to pick on one vendor, but I hope they’ll see it as constructive criticism.) Vision Systems Technology LLC sells the Vieworks range of “precision digital cameras.” If you go to their product page you’ll find key performance specs on a large number of cameras. The problem though is that nowhere does their web site tell me how Vieworks cameras are better than competitor products.

This is where I find myself agreeing with Andy. If vendors want me to understand why I should buy their product rather than a competitive offering they have to tell me what’s different or special about it. I tend to think that means explaining benefits – what it will do for me that similar products can’t do – but perhaps as Andy says, it also means telling me how it works and letting me figure out if it’s a good fit with my needs.

If you’re marketing machine vision products or services, keep asking yourself why I should be buying from you.

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