We at Toigo Partners tend to be skeptical about "marketecture" that emanates from many technology vendors. Even if a vendor offers a good product that contributes measurable business value, too often the marketing agents for the firm "stretch the truth" to differentiate their wares from those of their competitors. In the process, hype and misinformation enter the discussion.
So, we call the vendors on their exaggerations and false claims. Or we seek to introduce caveats and considerations that consumers would be wise to heed before buying the vendor's wares. As a result, we sometimes have left the impression that we are anti-vendor or anti-tech.
Nothing could be further from the truth. About a third of our clientele are vendors. We are very selective about what products or technologies we embrace, basing our choices of consulting projects on the value of what the vendor offers. We have turned down very lucrative contracts in the past with vendors whose products or services - or whose sales practices - did a disservice to consumers. But, we delight when we locate a high value product or service and become its fiercest advocate.
We believe that the secret to technology advocacy and evangelism is to be creative. We try to frame the business value case for a good product or service in pop culture. In 2016, we introduced the idea of a Zettabyte Apocalypse (or "z-pocalypse") to capture the idea of unprecedented levels of data growth and to underscore the need for better storage utilization efficiency and improved data management. To articulate this multi-dimensional challenge to IT, we created an "avatar" - Barry M. Ferrite, a trusted storage advisor and artificial intelligence, with the sarcastic tone of Max Headroom and the accent of Arnold Schwartzenegger. The backdrop of Barry's public service announcements, which played to hundreds of thousands on social media, were film clips from George Romero's film, Night of the Living Dead.
This over-the-top method of communicating information about the data deluge resonated with more IT and business planners than most white papers or news articles on the subject. It also provided a springboard for discussing tape technology, archive platforms, tiered storage architecture, storage virtualization, and many other topics -- all while retaining audience attention. It proved the value of entertainment, mixed with information, to make a case that folks will listen to and remember when purchasing decisions are made.
In other media, we have tried to put a pin in hyperbolic narratives around clouds, server virtualization, and even hyperconverged or software-defined storage. Our position has always been that technologies may have merit, but it is always relative and contextual. IT planners and business leaders need to have a fuller appreciation of what technology can actually do, its risks, and its limitations. They must appreciate trade offs, which are always part of technology choices, and make informed choices of what they purchase or deploy. To this end, we use every rhetorical device, including humor, to get the point across.
This strategy seems to have a growing number of adherents today. We offer it to our clientele as a service.