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Product Pre-Review

Kick Your Product Review Program Into High Gear
We all know the importance of good product reviews. Potential users search magazines for product reviews when they are in buying mode. The difference between a good product review and a mediocre one can cost your company millions of dollars. You've spent time developing the product and marketing it; now spend some time with us to ensure your product's strengths aren't overlooked during the product review

Games Reviewers Play
Most reviewers have standard methods for reviewing products, and each publication uses product benchmarks. It is important to know these, but there are also games review editors like to play. Things like: How far can I get without reading the manual? What will make this program crash? Being prepared for these games and others will give you an edge over your competitors.

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Know Your Reviewer
For four years while at Hi-Tech Communications I managed the product review program for Sun Microsystems. I handled reviews for products ranging from UNIX software applications to multiprocessor servers. During that time Sun introduced a number of great products. But even with a great product there was the possibility of poor product reviews. Sun would get hundreds of calls from people requesting products for review. We developed a process to qualify the reviewers, rank the opportunity and identify the pitfalls. Learning about the reviewers and their publication made the difference between a good review and a great review. Through a series of questions, and using my "Reviewer's Sixth Sense," I determined what each review needed to make it successful. In conjunction with my wonderful colleagues at Sun, the systems were configured, shipped and supported.

Tech Support: The Importance of Shane
Technical support requirements for product reviewers are different than those for general customer support, but often, companies don't correctly prepare the technical support person for his or her role. On the Sun Microsystems account, I had the privilege of working with someone who very clearly understood what reviewers need -- Shane Sigler. His support often made the difference between a pissed off reviewer and a happy one. There is only one Shane, but I did my best to learn his secrets. I can help you identify and train a Shane in your organization to provide the kind of support product reviewers need.

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Getting Hot Products to the Reviewer
Logistics, logistics, logistics. Getting the product into the hands of the reviewer in a timely fashion is critical -- and for that, you need help from your product developers. Do your hardware and software engineers understand how to coordinate development stages with timelines for key publications and trade shows? If you have a choice of a review of your product in an issue that is distributed at THE major tradeshow for your industry and one a month later, which would you choose? Showing the hardware development team where the product review fits into the ISO 9001 manufacturing standard can make the difference between a review seen by hundreds or thousands.

Your Friend the Database
Almost everyone uses a database to keep track of products out for review. But there are parts of the product review database that shouldn't be forgotten. I'll review your database and the review process to ensure it is effective and efficient. If necessary, I'll help you create a custom database that mirrors your process so it can be managed by more than one person. I can also help train the people running the product review process to help them develop the "Reviewer's Sixth Sense."

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Pre-review Program
Hardware and software are getting more and more complex. How can you ensure your complex product will be reviewed correctly? By choosing our pre-review program you can have your product reviewed by a former product review editor. Having an outsider look at the product provides an objectivity that is not possible for the team developing the product.

Here's how we do it:

  • We select an editor with a background reviewing products in your product category
  • We sign a non-disclosure document and meet with the development team
  • The product is reviewed

Following the pre-review we deliver the following information:

  • A product review similar to a regular review
  • Guidelines on how to optimize the hardware or software configuration for future reviews
  • Problems that need to be addressed before the product is sent out for review
  • Questions and issues that arose during the pre-review process

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Pre-review Case Study
When your people are too familiar with their own product, sometimes they miss glitches that a savvy outsider can spot. During a pre-review for one of our clients, our reviewer triggered two bugs that had passed undetected through several of the client's quality assurance checks. The client was able to avoid disastrous reviews by delaying the release and fixing the bugs. Today that product is the leader in its category on the UNIX platform.

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