Response to negative marketing tactics from “competitors”
Hi all. Sorry I have not written in a couple of weeks. My wife said we needed a vacation. Having been married for nearly 5 years, I know when to listen to my wife (usually).
During the time off, an interesting topic came up from a reporter as to why we have not been more aggressive about responding to some of the outrageously negative marketing practices that have been utilized by a “competitor.” We stated that we simply will not sink to the level of this other organization, and we have chosen to take the high road. Our assumption is that the average customer sees right through all of the negative campaigning. In fact, our customers frequently commend us for taking the high road. But then it hit me: The web is still a bit of the wild west. It is a great place to find new information and new services, but it can not be policed for mis-information as effectively as a newspaper or TV report. Every person isn’t going to take the time to actually read the details of this other organization’s mis-interpretation of the facts. Therefore, I am going to spend some time responding to the negative marketing campaign efforts that another organization is using to clear the air and represent the facts accordingly. Frankly, I don’t even like wasting my time with this, but I think it is important, because we are committed to offering our customers the best photo, negative and slide scanning service out there, and we’ve built a first class organization and scanning process in order to do so.
One of the major criticisms is that we send photos, negatives and slides to India to be processed, and that we have attempted to hide this from the customer. Let me be as clear as possible here: we are extremely proud of our highly trained technicians in India and we have, from day one, been very clear about where images are processed. Our Bangalore facilities are first-class and so is our team. We took the time to hire the right people (read about our head of operations there, Naren Dubey) and build a very sophisticated, world class logistics system to track all packages and ensure their safety. As is noted on our Web site, we use only world class courier services such as FedEx and UPS who allow our customers, as well as ourselves, to track packages at any time. We take the security of our customers’ images very seriously; period. We have built worldwide secure global connections that any logistician would be proud of. Since we started, we have processed over 1.75 million images and have not lost or damaged a single one.
They’ve accused us of misrepresenting ourselves regarding a placement in the Wall Street Journal, which is posted on our site. As regards to the WSJ comment: it’s quite simple, we were mentioned in this WSJ article as having the highest resolution for the lowest price. We make no claim as to editorial endorsement anywhere on our site and never have. To not expect us to put such a prestigious mention on our website is beyond ignorant – any right thinking business would do the same. We say on the site that the article “shows that ScanCafe offers the highest resolution service at the best price.” In the article, we are included in a table that compares us to several other vendors, and this is exactly how we are positioned in the article. We are proud of this placement and want to share it with our customers.
Lastly, we’ve been criticized for not being forthcoming about our prices. Our price comparison chart has been available since January 2007, and we mention our low prices on several other pages on the Web site. Our pricing is low (starting at 19 cents for 3000 dpi for 35mm negatives ) and is one of our greatest selling points. The other is that users only have to pay for the images they want to keep (with a minimum of 50% of the images that are scanned). This has turned out to be a revolutionary idea that saves users tons of time and energy upfront and our customers love it. They no longer have to organize everything in advance; no one else comes close to offering this type of service.
This is simple: We won’t sink to the level of degrading a competitor’s business just for the sake of improving our own. When we launched the service, we were attacked quite aggressively by existing “competitors” because they knew that they wouldn’t be able to compete with us on price – but if you actually review our service, price is not nearly as powerful as the ability for customers to send us all of their images and then review online and then be required to only purchase 50% of the images sent. We have removed the labor from the client – if you use any other organization, you have to spend a large amount of time sifting through all of your photos to determine which ones to send in because the pricing is so high. With us, you spend three minutes at a computer when placing the order and you are done. Also, because you can review on line, you don’t have to waste time holding negatives or slides up to a light source (most people don’t have imaging tables or optical loops) to determine which ones to send in. Simply send me everything, I will scan it all, and you only pay for the ones you want to keep (with a 50% minimum). This is, after all a SERVICE and it suppose to be easy for the customer.
I will leave it up to smart customers to decide whether or not to believe a competitor who, through his own actions, has shown a great deal of paranoia. I reiterate, we let our service and our track record do our talking for us. We also encourage test orders – we have no minimum order size so send us a single image if you like and let us prove the value.
We at ScanCafe will continue to remain positive business professionals and focus on delivering a quality service to our customers, rather than engage in any negative marketing tactics towards other organizations. We feel our service speaks for itself and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our customers are getting the very best of every single person on the Scan Cafe team – that is my pledge to you. We appreciate your business and if there’s anything you feel we could be doing better, we’d like to hear about it, so please send us an email at any time.