What IT Pre-Sales Engineers Really Think About b2b Content Marketing.
Video 11 of 18: Hewlett Packard And Content Marketing
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An edited transcript of the conversation is provided below.
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Video 11: Edited Transcript
Referencing some posts, Matthew, you wrote, about HP networking. I picked on this partly because I used to work at 3Com and left just before the Palm Pilot acquisition. But I followed their progress as they became part of HP.
In one of your posts, the one written in June 23rd of 2012; I think it was “HP Networking, 1 year later”.
And you talked about some of the things they were doing well, and maybe not so well.
You mentioned the lack of design guides and branded books.
Do you want to talk about that?
Is that just teething problems because it take a long time for such a huge colossus to get everything organized?
Or is it something else they haven’t really addressed?
I think it’s probably more of a teething problem, Mark, but it’s not something that’s really specific to HP.
I wrote about HP because I’ve spent so much time talking to HP, not through my social media thing. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people at HP and had a lot of conversations over many meals.
I’ve been fortunate for HP to have given me access to quite a few of their top notch people and so I kinda have a special place in my heart, for lack of a better term, for HP.
Because I’ve just talked to them so much.
But it’s not a problem with just HP.
It’s a problem with the industry as a whole.
And that’s, you can put out a product.
You can put out a manual or two about that product but from an overall perspective (and of course not every product needs this), but from a design perspective it’s crucial from a network infrastructure perspective for you to, as a vendor, to let people know how you expect these products to be used.
Cisco’s Digital Content Ecosystem
Cisco is very good about doing this.
Aruba, on the wireless side, is very good about doing this.
You know, some companies get it.
They put out these design guides and you can see how they intended their products to be used.
And obviously there are cases where you use products in ways which they might not have been intended but that just helps so much from a end customer, from a VAR perspective, because not everyone can spend half the year going to these classrooms where, you know, experts are teaching you on the products.
Sometimes it’s not even experts, it’s just people reading slides but you don’t have the luxury of going on training for all these different products.
That’s why design guides really help the average engineer out there trying to get something done.
You know the books was another thing, at least for HP because of their sheer size.
The point I made is, I wrote a post a year and a half ago, I think, about competing with Cisco and one of the things I mentioned was (that) you’re competing against an ecosystem.
An ecosystem of design guides and book and engineers and technical.
Build your ecosystem out or you’re going to lose because the number of people out there who know anything about your product is going to be a lot smaller.
You’ve gotta get people to drink your brand of ‘cool aid’, for lack of a better term.
EMC is the same way.
You know, some companies understand, and you can make the argument, well they’re so big, how can they not?
I get that, but if you’re a small company and you want to compete with the big boys, you have to do some of the same things that they’re doing in terms of, you know, gaining an actual audience.
How Vendor Design Guides Add Value for VARs, Prospects and Customers
OK, Matthew. Are these design guides of more relevance to people like your self, or to the end prospect?
Because the thing about the VAR space is, you know, just as a generically-termed consultant, I’m not always there because I’m the “smartest guy in the room”.
There’s plenty of times where I’m nowhere near the smartest guy in the room.
The client we’re dealing with has engineers that are far more capable.
Sometimes you’re there because they don’t have time or the resources to do this.
Sometimes you’re working side-by-side with other engineers because you’re an extra body.
And when you’re dealing with some of these customers, they’re reading the same design guides as you are.
And you’re working out these solutions (together) and I actually appreciate that.
When we’re on the same level, in terms of trying to get a problem done, and we’ve read the same guide on a specific technology from a vendor. That makes it far more enjoyable.
So, depending on the situation, I may be the only one that’s read the design guide.
However, there are plenty of times when the client has read just as much material as I have, and that makes for more interesting discussions.
Or I find that we can get things accomplished a little bit better, and give the client a better end product, or end result.
OK, Matthew, it sounds like HP are getting on track.
You mentioned their networking side.
They’re on the way to slimming down their product portfolio.
3Com doesn’t stand out any more as a separate entity.
Three wireless lines are getting collapsed down to one, I think.
They’re picking the Colubris line.
But, it takes time to turn that ship around.
And then there’s all the executive turmoil they’ve had over the past couple of years.
They’ve got very capable people and good technology, so it’s really an execution and a perception thing at this point.
It’s a matter of time.
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