An ex-colleague of mine, Rick Greenwald, once ran me through a presentation he created that outlined the dangers of negative selling. The theory goes that by blindly attacking your competitor’s weaknesses you not only fail to focus on your strengths, but you give the customer a reason for thinking of your competitor and, in extreme cases, create a negative impression of your company.
With that in mind, I came across AMD’s Break Free site this week and have been torn over whether it’s content is well aimed and informative, or whether it’s airing dirty laundry regarding a competitive topic that has very little to do with a customer’s buying decision.
I do understand the battle AMD is having with opaque procurement processes in Government organisations. It’s a tough battle. One that many software and hardware vendors deal with every day. Proposals and tenders often have specific functionality baked in to help exclude or minimise the impact of competitor activity by the incumbent vendor. If you know your product does something well, why not have your existing customers put that technical requirement into an RFP to make life harder for your competitors?
Obviously, government agencies need to be impartial and have a certain degree of transparency. However, having a campaign based around telling customers how Intel has been extracting revenue via monopolistic means does come across rather negatively.
It’s a discussion that needs to be had, privately with customers and governments. I dare say though, the average customer sees this negativity and vendor bashing at best, a little more than a sideshow and at worst, off putting and enough to switch buying attitudes towards other non-AMD vendors.