Today my wrath shall be directed at what has commonly become known as Marchitecture. Whilst the term has a few meanings depending on where you read it, for the most part it is understood to be technical specifications for a product, spun in such a way as to look positive from a marketing perspective. I'll take it one step further and apply it to situations where a technically inferior product wins out thanks to superior marketing power.

This situation occurs more than you'd think. Remember the battle between VHS and Beta? Sony's Beta is widely accepted as having been a superior product, yet so many people jumped on the VHS bandwagon that eventually they had to let it go.

That is one of the most clear-cut examples, but the problem seems to be escalating at a frightening rate. Take the iPod. Now there's no doubt it is a fine machine, but is it really the most superior product on the market today? Does it deserve its gigantic chunk of the market share? With products such as the Zen Vision:M and the Sony NW-HD5 I'm not so sure. Apple's marketing machine is clearly having a huge impact here.

Obviously some of this can be laid at the feet of regular marketing, as opposed to technical marketing, but for every person who owns an iPod because it's the hip thing to have, there's one who can rattle of ten reasons why it is technically superior to anything else.

Marchitecture trends are also particularly evident in the computing and video gaming industries, where battles between items that are years away rage on a daily basis. How many articles have you read regarding the Playstation 3 vs Xbox 360 debate? One of the consoles is still shrouded in secrecy and the other has been out barely three months, yet millions and millions of pages of text exist on this topic, most of it based entirely around the technical specifications leaked by the companies. Make no mistake, this hype has the power to sway consumers in a massive way, so the ability to successfully market the tech specs of your product prior to release has a significant impact on your subsequent sales. This will only get worse as time goes on.

In an ideal world, products would sell based on their merits; but obviously this is not the case. The best thing we can do as consumers is to do a little research before we make a purchase, and reward those companies with quality products, rather than those with quality marketing.

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Andrew Kliem

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