Print trade pubs may be hurting for revenue, but they’re not giving away full-color, full-page ads. So why are storage and server vendors wasting their ad dollars with pictures of their hardware like this one?

Servers and storage aren’t SUVs or even liquor bottles. Styling doesn’t sell – features, functions and performance do. And let’s face it, the bezel (the front plate) of most rack-mounted hardware looks pretty much the same: Ventilation holes, some little colored lights, a couple of pull handles and, oh, yeah, the vendor’s logo.

Yet that’s the image that two major vendors chose to dominate two recent ads. One trumpeted the fact their server delivers close to 30 percent more performance per watt than a competitor. The other claimed to deliver the industry’s only “application-aware storage.”

Rather than just show the outside of the cabinet, why not dramatize the benefits of the offering or explain how it works?

Let’s take the “performance per watt” ad. Why not show a portion of the benchmark results that shows how well your server did? Or, better still, an “exploded” diagram of the server pointing out which components help it deliver more bang for the buck?

The “application-aware storage” pitch is more abstract, but could be dramatized with an old-fashioned telephone operator “patching” applications to specific LUNs whose performance is keyed to the needs of those various applications. Better still, explain the concept with a network diagram highlighting color-coded paths from various application servers to the back-end storage that has been optimized for them.

Ads that focus on the physical box look like billboards aimed at creating mass brand awareness. (“Hey, I want a Coke!”) If you’re paying to advertise in a trade journal, assume the reader would be drawn in by a little technical content. After all, isn’t that why they’re reading that publication in the first place?

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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