Before the kids got out of class for the summer, my daughter’s fourth grade class was learning about product marketing. Her teacher is a good friend of ours and she knows I work with Informatica’s product marketing teams a great deal, so she asked, or I think it was closer to volunteered me to come into the class and talk a little about marketing concepts.
I have taken plenty of marketing classes in college, and have worked closely with marketing teams throughout my career; however, I’m not really qualified to talk marketing, but I mean they are fourth graders, how hard could it be right?
So being the diligent technologist that I am, I prepared nothing for my presentation to the class. I just figured the ideas would hit me when I got there. Now I have spoken at large events in front of hundreds of people, on webinars with worldwide audiences and in front of many high level executives. But I cannot truly describe the pressure I suddenly felt staring at thirty fourth grade students with my daughter in the front row looking at me with that “don’t screw this up” look in her eyes.
After a pause to gather my thoughts I looked at them and said, “let’s play a game.” This created immediate enthusiasm and I felt a little relief. I drew two blue dots on the board and divided the room equally down the middle. The right side was company A and the left side company B. The two companies are competitors and they both sell blue dots. I told them the blue dots basically perform the same function and challenged each side to tell me why I should buy the blue dot from their company instead of their competitor sitting next to them.
The answers I got back from these 10 year olds would have made even the savviest sales executives dizzy. “Ours has wings”, “ours has gold plating”, “ours changes colors like a chameleon” (I particularly liked this one, I’m sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere.) After a short side bar about professionalism and integrity we continued, finally arriving at price, “Ours is cheaper.”
“Okay, but how do you sell the value so you don’t have to reduce your price?” We started talking about service. “Outstanding customer service can make you buy more from one company than the other even though the products are similar. Honest sales people that represent the brand with integrity who build trust and credibility among customers.”
I asked them who liked Burger King and who liked McDonald’s and why. Answers were varied, better fries, better shakes, better toys, etc. Ah, but let’s consider something else, they offer more than one blue dot don’t they? I drew more blue dots on the board. And, if you connect the dots then you have the ability to offer more value to your customers and advertise / market this added value. The Happy Meal is born.
I drew dots connecting my original two blue dots and explained that I work for a company that connects the dots. So much so that they even have the dots connected in their logo, and wrote Informatica on the board. If you never got this by looking at the Informatica logo, don’t feel bad it was a bit of an epiphany for me too. We talked a bit more about how this creates brand recognition and had them tell me about some brands they liked and why.
I concluded by telling them that connecting technology components together is a little harder than building a Happy Meal, that we are dedicated to building the best solutions for our customers and standing by them. How our marketing teams get this word out to the masses through various events, webinars, campaigns and how this ultimately creates brand recognition, like some of the ones they identified.
They all clapped and I thanked them for allowing me to chat with them for a while on this topic. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable meetings I’ve attended in a long time. Now what does all this have to do with data replication you say?
If you have been following my blog series you’ll have heard me say that data replication is evolving, because the way we access and integrate our data is evolving. I can confidently say that understanding this evolution is critical, and that all data replication solutions are not created equal. Industry analysts have indicated that the data replication space is still growing rapidly and the need for real-time is more important now than ever before.
The data replication technology that understands this evolution will be the one that sets itself apart from the others. It will provide connectors to new technologies like Hadoop, access data from the Cloud and integrate with existing technologies that allow data transformation, high speed messaging integration and data quality. It will provide all these forward thinking processes and still maintain consistency with what a replication technology is intended to provide. It’s all about connecting the dots.