PR, marketing and other dirty tricks

Reading my selected websites and blogs today, I noticed some close parallels. First, reports Email security firm resorts to dirty sales tricks, descibing how a salesman had emailed prospects creating doubt about a rival firm's financial security. Second, Ralph Grabowski – see CAD vs CAD, Par Deux – and Rachael Dalton-Taggart at PR, Marketing and the Business of CAD write about The attraction of Detraction, discussing the marketing tactics employed by some leading CAD vendors to draw attention away from their rival's events.

As you might expect in a relatively new market like the UK's construction collaboration technology market, competitors' salespeople have sometimes been only too happy to slag each other off in private emails to prospective customers, but it has occasionally erupted in public. In a busy 2004 autumn, I recall, first, awkward press coverage emanating from a competitor's negative and inaccurate briefing about BIW's claim for a R&D tax credit (a claim which later provided quite legitimate – see news release), then, second, 4Projects' finance director using the pages of Contract Journal to accuse BIW of having "received significant venture capital funding" (an inaccurate assertion that again led to a quickly-despatched letter to the editor, see October 2004 BIW news release).

In both the above circumstances, BIW had to respond. If it had not, readers of the original distortions might have believed they were true. BIW had to put its side of the story fast in order to protect its reputation.

Thankfully, I have had little experience of UK competitors trying to distract rivals from a BIW promotion – perhaps we are all a bit more gentleman-like or mature than the CAD vendors? Certainly, through the NCCTP, we are even capable of doing joint events – witness last year's combined stand at the Construction Computing Show and the shared event the following week: the NCCTP conference.

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