Author Topic: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint  (Read 2201 times)

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sirenwerks

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Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« on: May 20, 2010, 03:15:43 PM »
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When you provide a product description for a specific car, don't give a generic product description. I understand that the car may be a generic car used by several railroads, but when you stick it to a specific car (car #XXXX for railroad X in paint scheme XX), give the details of that specific car (this goes for locos too, BTW). You already use web site pics that aren't of a high enough resolution to read the data, so maybe you could give that, so we know when the build/service date is on that specific model, when the featured paint scheme was applied, etc.

Point in case... I'm looking at the CGW PS4400 covered hopper on ExactRail's web site. Pics are too low a resolution to see the small data and the description is for the car's history and lifetime of the generic production and use. The car's in a CNW paint scheme, with CNW herald, but CGW markings? For the uninitiated, that draws an immediate 'Huh? What da...?". Tell me about THAT car!

MT does it, IMRC does it, Atlas does it... hell everyone does it. And it's so annoying! At least to me it is.

I know it's a cost issue (researching the specifics of the model) but you've already done that, or should have, to produce the model. All that's left is getting your marketing schlep to doll up the grammar and your weblacky to actually post the knowledge.

If you manufacturers want your web site to sell product that many of us aren't able to see at our LHS - because our LHS sucks or because there is no LHS or because you want us to pre-order the product before it's actually produced - then show us how money your product, marketing, and tech really is.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 03:17:14 PM by sirenwerks »
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bbussey

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 04:13:29 PM »
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ESM provides the prototype information you ask on its website, including new/service dates.  Contrary to what you state, so does Atlas.  BLMA, Bluford, Wheels of Time, Rapido and ExactRail give specific timeframes/eras for their models/paintschemes on their respective sites.  So how is that not satisfying your criteria? 

On ExactRail's pages, the era of the CGW CD4000 is stated.  For most modelers, of whom dictate the market, this is enough.  Anyone who requires more detailed information is free to do the necessary research himself/herself to determine whether or not he/she should buy the models desired, instead of expecting the marketing schleps and website lackeys to do it for him/her.

Bryan Busséy
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oakcreekco

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 04:35:19 PM »
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FWIW, I've seen many CNW hoppers with the CGW markings, one as recent as about 4-5 years ago.

Remeber that the CNW bought the CGW.
A "western modeler" that also runs NS.

wcfn100

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 05:03:25 PM »
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On ExactRail's pages, the era of the CGW CD4000 is stated. 


And wrong.

It's not too much to ask for manufacturers to make available what is printed on the car. In this case the shop date of 1980 would be very useful.

Even without that, the earliest this car could be used for is 1972 due to the 'Employee Owned' logo so the 60's era is out regardless.


Jason

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 05:11:59 PM »
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Most manufacturers do it, but very inconsistently and sometimes only after you ask them to.  Atlas is about 50% on providing the info.

I think the issue is they prefer ignorant consumers, because otherwise it limits sales.  If I know a car is out of my era, I won't buy it.  If it's plausible, and I don't have the information slapping me in the face, then there's a greater chance I buy. (even if I suspect it's on the fringe or out of era)

I would love to have the info too, but I understand why it's not a huge priority for the manufacturers.  I'm sure it's tough enough without intentionally derailing further sales.

It would be nice if we had a "Spookshow Site On Steroids" where we could document the data.  Maybe someday.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

Mark5

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 05:30:55 PM »
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I've been checking out the Atlas DT&S boxcar that just hit the stores:



http://www.atlasrr.com/NFreight/nauto4.htm

I sorta remember seeing this or at least this scheme on the pokey way back when.

Atlas isn't helping with the time frame much: Built by American Car & Foundry in the late 1960s and early 1970s, so I had to dig around on the web and make some assumptions.

The "NEW" date looks to be "7X"

I like the data Bluford is supplying on their website. 8)

Mark

sirenwerks

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 06:33:59 PM »
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ESM provides the prototype information you ask on its website, including new/service dates.  Contrary to what you state, so does Atlas.  BLMA, Bluford, Wheels of Time, Rapido and ExactRail give specific timeframes/eras for their models/paintschemes on their respective sites.  So how is that not satisfying your criteria? 

On ExactRail's pages, the era of the CGW CD4000 is stated.  For most modelers, of whom dictate the market, this is enough.  Anyone who requires more detailed information is free to do the necessary research himself/herself to determine whether or not he/she should buy the models desired, instead of expecting the marketing schleps and website lackeys to do it for him/her.

From Atlas site on the newest release of SD7 & SD9 models "The Atlas Classic N Scale SD-7 Locomotive is based on the prototype manufactured by EMD from February 1952 to November 1953. Utilizing a 1,500 hp engine and a longer underframe than the GP-7, the SD-7 was the first locomotive to use EMD's Flexicoil truck.

Built by EMD between 1954 and 1959, the SD-9 6-axle road switchers produced 1,750 HP and were used primarily for freight service throughout the US, both on main and secondary lines. Many SD-9 locomotives are still in service today, serving as road switchers for shortline & industrial railroads, and as yard switchers for major "Class 1" lines."

This, Mr. Bussey, is a generic statement, as is the statement that accompanies the ExactRail CGW PS4400 http://www.exactrail.com/index.php/products/ps-2cd-4000-covered-hopper-cgw.html. The statement that accompanies the latter is the same statement that accompanies the Southern-painted model (6217) http://www.exactrail.com/index.php/products/ps-2cd-4000-covered-hopper-sou.html. How does that make it car-specific, Bryan?

Regarding the Atlas SD7/9. No statement accompanies the models, just the front page of each release notice http://www.atlasrr.com/NLoco/nsd79a.htm. In other words, a generic statement - there is NO statement about BN 6195 that relates exactly to BN 6195, or any of the other models that I looked at.

IMRC's descriptions explain the paint scheme and the model (hit or miss), but don't date the scheme or provide info on it or the specific unit modeled. Bluford does a bit better, and gives some historical on the scheme in general. Don't see anything on Rapido's passenger cars. BLMA - generic statement about the car type, generic statement about the railroads use of car type, statement about production of model, no statement about actual car modeled.

ESM? Not sure where you're keeping the info you claim, Bryan. When I click on a body style, then a specific paint scheme, I get nuttin' but a generic statement about prototype at model's front page, poor quality photo of each model but a few larger photos (hit or miss but certainly can't read the build/service date on either), and no specifics about car modeled, except N&W cars, kinda (no out-of-service/scrap/repaint dates). In other words. no consistency. Maybe I'm using the wrong website? Oh wait, it's yours.

Wheels of Time is the winner! They do most of what I'd hope to see, though out-of-service/scrap/repaint dates would be nice. Problem there is, I don't look for passenger equipment, so I had no idea.

My standard? Not having to carry a magnifying glass to the LHS or researching a few days for a car that's not my roads, but being able to buy a car that correctly fits the prototype and era - EASILY.

And no, Mr. Bussey, I don't dictate the market, but if I were King... I may be only one person speaking up, but the fact that others have responded favorably to my post indicates that I am not the only guy on the island either, and marketing math would say there are others who agree that are not speaking up. Your indication that I am free to research further is true. But why? If the manufacturer did its job, they have already done the research to create a car that is prototypical or close (if close, manufacturer should indicate, in a nicer way, foobie status). This is an important point for manufacturers - since they've already done the work, providing the info is a value added service, and likely to make purchasers more confident of buying the product. It would just take some changes to their web site design logistics.

It's not rocket scientist. I'm not cramping anyone's style. Having more info doesn't keep those who don't care from buying the model. If you got it, share it. Otherwise, you make it harder to buy it for those who care. Anyone who's studied marketing, even first year, knows that the more roadblocks you remove from the consumers way, the more likely they are to buy it. I think that what's manufacturers want, right? Unless you have some unique business model going on...
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Hyperion

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 06:52:28 PM »
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It's not rocket scientist. I'm not cramping anyone's style. Having more info doesn't keep those who don't care from buying the model. If you got it, share it. Otherwise, you make it harder to buy it for those who care. Anyone who's studied marketing, even first year, knows that the more roadblocks you remove from the consumers way, the more likely they are to buy it. I think that what's manufacturers want, right? Unless you have some unique business model going on...


I think that, almost assuredly, the number of people who aren't buying a model because they just don't know if it fits their prototype/era/whatever would be vastly outnumbered by the sales you'd lose by freely offering buyers information that, sorry, the car they were about to buy doesn't really fit their prototype/era/whatever.  At best there's no way you'd gain more than you lost.  In this case "removing a roadblock" comes through via consumer education, and educating the buyer on everything about your product, no matter what it is, is rarely a good idea.  A good salesman only tells what is absolutely necessary to complete a sale -- and, unfortunately, in this case they don't get to pick and choose which type of buyer receives what information, so of course they're going to shoot for the lowest common denominator.

Additionally, I doubt that more than a couple of manufacturers go through the effort even on the R&D side of the house to even have it on-hand to offer that information to their Marketing group.  I guarantee you that Atlas doesn't readily know when BN6517 was acquired, when it was painted into that particular scheme they're offering, when it was repainted into something else, or when it was ultimately scrapped.  Not that they couldn't get it, but it's of absolutely no bearing to them at all.  All they care is whether or not a GP15 (or whatever) was ever offered in that scheme (or, in some cases, just something approaching the scheme and/or model they've got), how many there were, and (at best) some knowledge that it was a flash-in-the-pan thing that lasted for 2 months on one unit (even those slip through the cracks sometimes).  They've got a list of operators of the model they've got, they've got pictures, and they've got some idea of market demand, and they sit down and say "Let's make one like this" -- the details are a completely moot point.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 06:55:32 PM by Hyperion »
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jmlaboda

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 07:03:24 PM »
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Not to be mean, Bryan and others, but have you not heard the term... "educated shopper?"  Companies are not going to give you every little detail that everyone wants... there are more important things to do.

The C&NW/CGW shows the last shop date of CLK 5-80.  This dates the car for after that date.  All cars from around the 50s up has similar lettering and dating to tell employees when it was last weighed.  It isn't rocket science but a person has to be willing to ask and learn, not just crap on whatever or whom ever they want.  I am sure any of us would have gladly helped you to date the car if you had just asked and you don't need the consolidated stencils shot to do it.  Same is true of paint schemes... you have a wealth of knowledge on this and other boards and if you want specifics just ask... those in the know willingly and effortlessly often share what they can and if they have to look up some info they will gladly do it.

Goodness... "Don't get your knickers in a wad."  Folks will be glad to help.

sirenwerks

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 07:17:49 PM »
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Hyperion,

Your point of good salesmanship is obviously taken from a sales manager's POV. David Holley's Maximal Information Rule would explain how sales information can be of best value to the consumer, while you're referring to Holley's Minimal Information Rule at the opposing end of the spectrum. Try reading Holley's Information Disclosure In Sales in the 1998 issue of the Journal of Business Ethics to gain a more rounded ideal of the moral continuum of disclosure.

As for your details being moot points notion, I'm not so certain, considering we hear of manufacturers weighing the popularity of models and schemes for income forecasting. Surely this 'popularity' is based on some level of understanding of era and railroads and prototypes, as they certainly would want to be aware of what fits into the stream of popularity to boost their sales. Surely, the release of a Milwaukee Road MP15DC will be less likely of placate the wants of a late-era Milwaukee modeler versus a MP15AC, and even less that of a Milwaukee transition era modeler, and a manufacturer would want to consider this before investing in overhead and production. Ergo, they should know and most likely do, what they are releasing well before. This knowledge extends only to a degree, I understand, but they have the information. Certainly, even the company that releases a foobie knows that the model they are releasing is a foobie, and they know why.
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sirenwerks

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 07:22:54 PM »
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Jerry,

I'm aware resources such as this exist. I participate on several RR-specific lists and know how to research and gather primary and secondary information, thanks. The 'more important things to do' holds true for modelers as well, and manufacturer supply of data allows them to do more playing with trains, than researching. 
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sizemore

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 07:43:58 PM »
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I'm with Bryan on freight cars. Outside of the roadname and product number, give me the build date, and rebuild date. Atlas does this about 50% of the time. MT does this with more consistency but I would appreciate the two date system. When I buy cars at my local LHS, I always look at the dates. I've got too little time to dig up every single car's data that I purchase especially when it's not the home or neighboring roads.

When it comes to locomotives it's much easier to dig up the information, if I do not know it inherently from reading through my library. When compared to freight cars its a much smaller spectrum of roadname(s).

The S.

Craig Martyn

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 08:22:41 PM »
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That information has been available on our website from day one for the PS-2CD 4000:

- Chicago & North Western (CGW)
  Painted in the 1979 and 1980 “Clinton Shops (Iowa - green) repaint scheme.  We have selected three car numbers with individual Clinton, Iowa, repaint dates on the side - collect all three of these former CGW cars!  These cars served CNW in various services including various grains and sand service.  These cars served UP after the CNW acquisition, lasting well into the 2000's.



http://www.blmamodels.com/cgi-bin/webstore/shop.cgi?ud=AAcEBQkNAgMDBxQUEBEcHAYBCQ4BAQUECQkTEQAA&t=main.red.htm&storeid=1&cols=1&categories=02002-00024&&c=detail.red.htm&t=main.red.htm&itemid=PS4000-4

And, these cars feature the proper green color, 100-Ton trucks, 36" metal wheels with front AND back profile, body-mounted Micro-Trains couplers, etched-metal roof walks/coupler platforms...just to name a few...   ;)

« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 08:24:14 PM by Craig Martyn »
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bicknell

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 08:40:55 PM »
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Some older MT cars had this history on the box.  Not sure if that was all of them or just some of them.  While I agree the web and press releases are better, and necessary for the long form I really think some basic data should be on every box.  Educate your customers and they will thank you.

sirenwerks

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Re: Manufacturers - An annoying product marketing compaint
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 09:18:15 PM »
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CRaig,

I appreciate the input, but hadn't looked at your CGW car. I looked at your GN car description though - http://www.blmamodels.com/cgi-bin/webstore/shop.cgi?ud=BAQCBwkNAgMDBxQUEBEcHAYAAw8BAQUECQkTEQAA&t=main.red.htm&storeid=1&cols=1&categories=02002-00024&&c=detail.red.htm&t=main.red.htm&itemid=PS4000-5 - and found it to be hazy. Maybe that's because I pay attention to the GN, being a WP modeler, where the CGW car would only have been a run-through car to add some color.

It's a simple matter of a "Good from 19XX to XXXX" statement. These dates would tell the modeler when the car, as modeled, was used. This is the crux of my complaint. If I model 1969, I want to know whether a car or loco is good for that time period, and whether its an actual prototype, an almost-prototype (close but not exact), or an out-right foobie. If the latter two, I'd appreciate knowing the major differences, to know whether I can live with them - inappropriate paint scheme for car type, correct # of panels/ribs, brake wheel placement, correct trucks/wheel size, #/placement/size of hatches/doors... on caboose & passenger cars - correct door and window layouts, etc. If the car was in dedicated service, that would be nice to know too.

If a model were an exact or near-exact replica, a manufacturer would be crowing up a storm. If not, why slink away?
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