Altius, Forties, Citius …by itself no thanks!!!

Altius, Forties, Citius (Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”) is the Olympic motto and was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin on the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. These words define the intangible spirit that makes all participants aspire for higher achievements.

Somehow this motto has also become the spirit in everything we want to do and surrounds us. Manufacturers and distributors in all industries follow this to the extent that they have to be at the top on everything they do: Whether it may be moving packets in a switch, seeking the fastest respond in a computer, developing a product with the latest software or offering yet the biggest screen on a tablet it seems like it is never enough. We all know that in 3 or 4 months another computer will be faster, another switch will have higher capabilities and we will have to hold another tablet in the never ending race for what they tell us that “the later the better”.

However, have manufacturers and the so-called “solution providers” really stopped for a moment to think if they are spending their strength on what really matters? That is the “people” (customers) that they pretend to sell their solutions to.

As an avid searcher of technology (but specially solutions) I usually attend all short of exhibitions that I can as those are the showroom for many companies, bringing the latest of the latest. I must say that exhibits are an incredible technological display of capabilities of which companies should be proud of. I still find amazing how the technology race forces itself through business competition to offer never ending new products…but this is where many companies fail to deliver, in the presentation of their products in an environment and with a meaning for their customers-to-be. They are just “too busy” competing with each other offering the latest without putting much thought on how their products can and will be utilized. Many assume that the end-customer will find the right “niche” for their latest product just because it is the latest and it is “trendy” to have it. Well, I have news for you: In many circumstances the sad reality is that your customers don’t need the latest and don’t know what they want, they “just” need a solution to their problems, so don’t sell products & technologies, offer solutions.

Let me tell you something as this is not just for technological events like Gitex, TechExpo, etc, etc. It applies to any expo: I’d rather engage with a company that is interested on my technological problems and offers a “normal” solution than wastingspending my time with one that may offer the latest but does not couple it with true interest, let alone if what they offer is not for my needs. Believe or not in many occasions the solution offered is the same to all customers. It is like going to a doctor who is prescribing always the same medicine: “Take this pill” he says regardless of whether the patient is having a cold or has broken a leg. Technological solutions should be hand in hand with customer needs.

The routine in expositions nowadays seems to be that while you wander through the stands, exhibitors fail to offer the minimum courtesy…and this is becoming more and more common. Many attendees are approached just to be offered goodies and some leaflets…which is nice if this is also done showing sympathy as why you are there. Many will argue that this is also offered in these events. Well, I will give you an example: How many of you have been asked while walking between stands if they could “scan” your badge, without uttering any other word, so they can enter your details in their marketing database? Or, even worse, you have been asked directly for your business card without any other interest.

Some time ago I made the decision not to hand my business card in exhibitions unless it was to specific individuals and for a good reason. I understand that exhibitors and those contracted to “engage” potential clients need to justify their time… but it becomes a joke when the same exhibitor asks you for the third time to scan your credentials.

So, word of advice: While we (customers) love technology (otherwise we would probably be doing something completely different) we also want to communicate with someone who is able to listen and understand the “possible customer” enquiries. Being forced to hand over our business cards will make us think that we are just trophies being collected for the marketing department rather than a customer that only aspires to be heard. Have you thought that the product you are offering me may not be suitable?…However, if you listen to what I say chances are that we can work out a solution and work together as partners…then I will let you have my business card.

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