March 15, 2013

Dump the Marketing Don’t

by with 13 comments

On Monday morning this week, we started receiving emails from our PR team at South By South West (SXSW) with the following photo.

Curious if we knew anything about it, we could only respond to them with raised eyebrows and a shrug of ‘No idea!’ As we wondered who was behind this campaign, there was a certain sense of satisfaction and relief that it had nothing to do with us.

While in the world of politics negative advertising campaigns are shown to be effective when used sparingly, we at SpiderOak have not seen the value in positioning our competitors’ offerings as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’.

As our market gets more and more crowded, we aim to educate people about the differences in our services and how it may be more appealing and beneficial to a certain segment. Our marketing efforts revolve around trying to best communicate what we do so those who need us can best find us. Seems like a better approach than telling everyone how bad the other is.

What do you think? Do our marketing efforts resonate with you? Have you ever chosen a service or product due to negative messaging? Have you seen a campaign – like the one referred to in this post – work? Curious to know your thoughts.

  1. What resonated most with me when I signed up to SpiderOak, is their openness and transparency with their customers. Not only through social media but also thru sharing technical specifications on how their encryption service works. Explaining how the service achieves "Zero-knowledge" so that I can actually believe in the service, is important to me.

  2. I'm glad for this statement. Focus on your advantages, be a Dropbox alternative, if even that, everything else would seem a little childish. thanks!!

  3. Thank you @Leeroy J. and @merch for your comments. We very much want to connect with our existing users and speak to them in a way that resonates. Glad to hear you've felt we've done that. Always open to more suggestions.

  4. While I prefer SpiderOak's marketing there are some people that the negative approach works with. If it did not work all of the political ads made would be positive not smear campaigns. What is interesting is that site does not offer any alternatives to Dropbox just slams them.

    It looks like a company called Goldenfrog is behind it and their storage service called Dump Truck.

  5. I'm kind of surprised this is the first I'm reading of this, considering this article was written last Friday. Rather than a simple article, perhaps a better pro-active response might have been to release a statement?

    One thing that's perplexing though. The article says the negative campaign was against an Australian tld, yet, the graffiti only had the dot com tld. Was this really the same guy, or a copycat?

  6. I don't think corporate marketing speak works on security conscience people. Good or Bad!! No offense, but I did not start using your product until known security professionals spoke good things about it. Plus once a product holds up in fed/state/local courts and impedes government snooping, then word of mouth takes over. The product kinda sells it self.

    I use both Dropbox and SpiderOak but for different things. I use Dropbox for school homework, class notes, linux bash scripts, command line stuff, and server set ups. Nothing personal ever goes there. Dropbox's advantage is the sync is really fast and I can edit on the fly. SpiderOak is a secure backup for really important personal stuff. As much as I love it, the UI is too clunky for daily use. In my opinion it is much more suited for weekly or monthly access.

    On a side note wish list: Please buy either one of the two very popular cross platform note taking apps. Use there UI for your product and make the app just as secure as the rest of SpiderOak. This would be a great way to get more money out of me. :)

  7. Not to mention what Spideroaks offers are completely different from what Dropbox offers. it is like ice cream having a negative campaign against chocolate milk

  8. Negative, attack style adds never work on me. I don't want to know what's wrong with your competitor, I want to know what's right with your product and why is it a better alternative to everyone else's product. Anything else is just a waste of my time.
    To me it says, 'Hey look <company> sucks, but we have nothing better to offer'
    The company behind this website will definitely not get my business.

  9. Really appreciate the comments here. We are all on the same page which is great.

    @Omar – You hit the nail on the head. And no offense taken. :-) We appreciate the suggestion on acquiring a note taking app…duly noted.

  10. Negative never works for me, in fact it probably does the opposite.

    For a seller it's obviously a very difficult line to tread between lining up the various products in honesty and steering clear of negativism: but I think you do a great job. As OMV says above the two products are different and half the battle in 'selling' is to get the customer to see their need so that he can satisfy it with the right product — that makes everybody happy.

    I use DropBox and Cubby and Box and USB drives… but for nothing like I use SpiderOak: SpiderOak is the backbone to my system! But as Omar says above I'd probably be using SpiderOak more if it had a better UI and more control of the backups in the UI (but I'm presuming it's a work in progress).

  11. @Scribbly – It is a work in progress. Something you might be interested in knowing — our next release (5.0) will include a dropbox-like folder feature whereby any items placed inside this folder will be present on any other device where the folder is present, including mobile. We are just a few weeks away from this release. More info coming soon…

  12. I would very much like to be able to tell the total size of all files stored inside folders under the "view" tab where all my files are uploaded too.

  13. I am currently "just looking" at SpiderOak, but will probably sign up by the end of the day…

    I try to live by (at least) two maxims. First, as my mother said many decades ago, "If you can't say something nice about someone, then keep quiet."

    Second, I learned in retail sales (my first post-college career) the rule to "Never trash-talk the competition." First, no matter how much you think you know about them, you don't know everything. Also, one day you might end up working for them. (Look at all of the corporate mergers, pro athletes being traded, and so on.) for me, this extends to politics as well. When candidate A starts saying inaccurate, slanted or false things about candidate B, I start to wonder just how desperate A is getting.

    I am looking at SpiderOak because of a number of good things I have seen recently about it – particularly data security, and the apparent existence of Linux clients. Look for me as a user soon.