14 August 2010 ~ 1 Comment

how big?

how big?

My new camera has a 14MP sensor. That’s 2MP more than my previous camera and 13.5MP more than my first. If I wait a year the company who made my new camera will have a model with even more megapixels, and so will their competitors. And it’ll likely be cheaper than the camera I just bought?

The pace of consumer electronics forces this, right? Yes. Almost.

The real battle started the instant a camera manufacturer added the megapixel count of their camera to a website, brochure or press release. That set the metric for competition and the goal to beat for competitors.

Does a 14MP camera take a better picture than a 10MP camera? Not necessarily. Sensor size, noise ratio, ISO capability etc. all play a role, but we only make comparisons based on one number.

However, in the same way Eric Clapton can knock out an incredible tune on my $90 acoustic guitar far better than I ever could, it’s the photographer who makes the difference with the technique and subject matter of the photos they take and not the megapixel count of the camera.

Bragging about numbers creates a measurement for comparison. This turns into a key metric for your competitors to measure themselves by and use against you.

As the measurement grows into smaller/faster/cheaper realms, price stays the same or even decreases and you will end up fighting a pricing battle around the measurement. More for less. The commoditization means that the primary winner is the consumer (and this is okay too!).

The alternative is to avoid measurements altogether, even if your competitors use metrics to sell. Especially if your competitors use ’speeds and feeds’ to sell.

For example, the latest iMac is ‘The ultimate all-in-one’. Two important parts to this:
- it does not tell me how fast, how much or how many. If you want to find out processor speed or how much memory is installed, you can but it’s nowhere near the front edge marketing.
- the marketing leads with what this computer means to me, the prospect who might buy this computer. It’s an all-in-one. Everything’s packed into the screen. Cool – if that’s what I’m looking for. If not, I can quickly move on to something else.

By comparison, the Dell equivalent leads with:
Compact, space-saving Vostro 230 Slim Tower
Includes Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 2GB memory, 250GB hard drive, DVD-ROM, Dell E2010H 20 inchs widescreen monitor, Trend Micro 15-Month Security Subscription

Lots of measurements and points for comparison. Lots of reasons to look elsewhere for smaller/bigger/faster/more for cheaper.

Pack the ruler away and lead with what you’re selling will means to improving the life of the customer instead.

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