What is the meaning of FUD?
Beyond products like the microprocessor, software, and network communications, the technology industry has also given us new lessons in marketing. FUD is one of them.
FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, and DOUBT pervade the average person’s everyday thoughts, and many people spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about FUD based “what might happen” scenarios. Technology marketing is especially good at capitalizing on this familiar state of mind.
When purchasing a new computer system, typical FUD elements include:
- Compatibility with existing software
- Compatibility with current hardware
- Staff training requirements
- Suitability for purpose
What’s the strategy? AMPLIFY the FUD state that is naturally present in your prospect’s mind for the competitor’s product and ALLEVIATE it for yours. Here’s how a computer manufacturer could do it. They might state:
- Our software is 100% backwards compatible with your existing software. [implication: some competitive systems are not.]
- Our hardware is 100% compatible with your current systems. [implication: some competitive systems are not.]
- Your staff will already know how to use the system, so you won’t have to re-train them. The competitors have a brand new operating system. [implication: re-training is an inevitability with the competitive system.]
- Our systems are already in use by over 1,000 companies similar to yours. It’s proven. [implication: competitive systems are not as proven.]
How I Ethically Applied this Technique
… they were in wholesale revolt and threatening to go to our competitor.
Many years ago, I was a newly appointed vice president of sales and marketing for a technology firm which had a large utility client in the US that hated us. They had used our system for years, but there were a few disappointments along the way. By the time I arrived on the scene of a new system sale to them, they were in wholesale revolt and threatening to go to our competitor.
Their disappointments were with the previous generation of the technology and fully solved by the new version we were releasing. But, regardless of our promises, the damage to their trust was done. However, they did offer us one last chance. They would allow us to demonstrate the new product to their head office team, who would then evaluate it against our competitor AND MAKE A FINAL PURCHASE DECISION.
Over the years of use, our old system had created gigabytes of historical information in a proprietary database, which was necessary for the client’s analytics and projection purposes. Knowing this, I sent my most experienced sales rep down to the demo and had him repeat in the presentation three times: “… and we will guarantee the migration of the historical data into our new system.”
This simple statement was something our competitor could not guarantee and was the clearest differentiating value proposition as to why they should buy our new system. Even though they were a grumpy client before the demo, we won the deal!
Seven Ways to Alleviate FUD
- Trial Periods
- Authoritative Endorsements
- Client Testimonials
- Behind the Scenes Access to your Company
- Demonstrations showcasing the details of how the product works
What is your prospect’s FUD? Alleviate it.