How to Talk to Reviewers - A Manufacturer's Primer


It's come to my attention that many manufacturers are scared shitless of reviewers. I can't blame them, as a type, reviewers are scary dudes. Not scary like any of them could rearrange your face, but intellectually terrifying. Some. Not me. But if you want to be able to relate, I've prepared some tips for how to get through a conversation with a reviewer, be it in person or on the phone, without messing up. Here goes...

Rule 1 - Never Badmouth the Competition

It doesn't matter if your (fill in the blank) beats the ever-loving crap out of the market leader, never EVER say that to a reviewer. How do you know for sure he didn't review said product and LOVE IT. The proper thing to say is " I think our (fill in the blank) performs better than (fill in the blank), and then go back to talking about your product, not talking smack.

Rule 2 - Never Badmouth the Competition

Let me belabor a point - it doesn't matter if you know for a fact that a particular component from a well-known manufacturer absolutely sucks, it's not, and never should be part of any conversation you have about it with the press.  It's the press's job to find out it sucks, without your help.

Rule 3 - Never oughta know by now...

Rule 4 - Keep On Point

Before you pick up the phone or go to a trade show you should have your "elevator pitch" in mind. While I would never suggest inflicting a power point presentation on anyone, making one for yourself and your marketing folks listing exactly what is new and special in both short and long-form versions is a very useful tool.

If you're at a show, don't be afraid to ask a journalist what their focus is, and if they would like a short or a more detailed demonstration. A tight two-minute demo backed up by good documentation beats a rambling five-minute life story every time...

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