Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The “Predicament” of the Mid-Range Market

I recall the day when I was involved in selling newspaper electronic publishing system some 15 years ago, there was this famous true story circulated among the insiders.

An ailing newspaper kicked off a rescue plan to boost its readership, and they engaged a market research company to offer them some constructive advices after a thorough market survey.  Their analysis summed up that X newspaper dominated the high-end market, Y newspaper conquered the low-end’s; there was still a vacuum of the untapped huge mid-range market.

The conclusion drew so much laughter, because the fact was, the assumed of vast mid-level customers simply didn’t exist.

Stuck in the middle?
Their new strategy based on this market report failed flat and landed them with receivership eventually. I told this story because it seems like we are very much situated at the same “predicament”. We have been sandwiched by the high-end system providers from advanced countries and renowned brands, and the low-end system providers from the Mainland China.  If the mid range market was non-existence for the newspaper industry, does it exist for time attendance and access control industry?

And I conclude that it definitely does. 

The content and presentation style in a newspaper are easier to devise to suit the taste of its readers in larger market coverage; hence to leave a vacuum of an untapped market is almost out of the question. But for industrial products, it’s pretty much different. If marketers aim for the low-end market, their costs and profits have to be squeezed to the least; hence it’s hard for them to provide quality software and services, or even more features have to be sacrificed for the sake of their low price.  In contrast, high-end marketers target big corporations that allow them to charge exorbitant fees, and pay high maintenance cost for scrupulous solutions and services; they’re unlikely to lower their postures for less profitable market. Even if they want to their system would not permit them to be mid-range or low-end friendly.

Stand tall in the middle 
And, our company is destined to apprehend this large amount of mid-to-high and mid-to-low market. While I’m writing this article, these three emails caught my eyes and it is in my opinion, best illustrated our position. I summarized it as follow:

An ERP solution provider wrote to us, saying they are in the midst of implementing their solution to one of their customers that currently using a HR solution provided by one of our resellers that using our biometric device to track time attendance. The reseller has difficulty to solve their problem when they want to retrieve time data from our device to be further processed by using their ERP software. And, they hope to establish a meeting with us to discuss about the data interface between our device and their system. They stressed they are in urgency because the technical team from India would only be in town until end of the week.

They received an email from our Assistant Sales Manager, the reply went like this, 

I’m Ms Fazalina from the sales department of FingerTec responding to your inquiry. We have read and understood your requirements and FingerTec has prepared many applications without any costs for you to use. Please go to www.fingertec.com and click on software icon at the bottom. There you can find FingerTec Data Processor (FTDP) for the data interface between FingerTec terminals and your application. FTDP is a free application at your disposal.

If you want your solution to be able to connect directly to FingerTec terminals, please use the SDK instead. http://www.fingertec.com/images/w_brochure/software-biobridge_e.html

While you are at that, take a peek at FingerTec Developer Program and see how this can help you: http://www.fingertec.com/developerprogram/

Therefore depending on your requirement you may choose between the FTDP (data has been processed for you and you just select which you require) or SDK (for system developers and they need to integrate FingerTec readers into their system for a solution).

We have also contacted our reseller regarding this matter and he will revert back to you shortly.

Later, we got his email saying:

Thank you for your prompt reply and support rendered right away.

My team believe what your solution has offered should be sufficient for us to proceed with our work.

We have also got in touch with your reseller.

We shall seek your support should we encounter one. We look forward a good partnership, where our product will be work well with Fingertec products.

This is how the magic is done with our “We Make Things Easy” strategy. Our products come with the comprehensive features and sell at affordable prices and extensive supports are provided without any further charges.

Yes, in our case, there is really a huge untapped market for the middle range.