Saturday, January 16, 2010

Selling Market Research Slimily

One of my current endeavors has drawn me into the bizarre world of "corporate intelligence".  This basically means information about other companies that you can use to understand your competition and find partnerships.  As I seek to understand this strange and dangerous new land, I've been spending a fair amount of time exploring websites like and within the confines of such websites I occasionally see tantalizing links like this:

These wonderful images get me all excited - "I will finally learn of the magical secrets held beneath! " - but then they invariably lead to something like this:

But I don't want to contact Bobbi Sue Richardson!  I just want to learn what your product actually is!  Why must you torture me so?  Why can't you be more like the folks who are doing so well at 37signals who "gasp!" allow me to view their product demo videos for things like basecamp with the click of a button.

While these walls frustrate me, they also fascinate me.  Why all the cloak and daggers?  There must be a reason..  Any ideas?


Morgan Langille said...

The secret is that their product sucks and they know that so the only way they can make money is by conning you into calling them and then they give you the hard sell. Then keep calling you back and spamming you with emails.

Well that is my opinion anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think you're spot on, Morgan. The salespeople want to control access to the company so they get prospects.

Benjamin Good said...

The root of the answer to this question must be that these companies think that this strategy will make them more money in the end. Given the complete absence (as far as i can tell) of an alternative model, perhaps they are right?

Why might this make them more money? I'm guessing they do it so that they can sell the same thing to different people at different prices. So your cheap university types will pay $500 for something that the salesperson has just sold for $3,000 to some one from a pharma company that just doesn't care. Lets them take what they can get.

The less cynical view (promoted by one of the salesepeople i talked to) is that each 'product' is completely and utterly unique and must be custom-tailored to the user's specific requests.