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    Suggestions on how to combat the introduction of a competitor's equipment at a major show. What means should be used?

  1. The worst place and the worst way to introduce a serious product is someplace like SEMICON West. You are shooting yourself in the foot, a toe at a time. The reason is that everyone tries to make introductions there. There are so many messages bombarding the attendees that they often get very confused. If your competitors want to introduce their product at SEMICON West, don't worry about it. The customers are more likely to remember you having a good give-away and being a steady company there to take care of them year after year.
  2. It is better to go to your key target customers and introduce the product to them ahead of the rest of the world. Get a buy-in from those customers, their responses, and inputs and then go out to the rest of the world. Don't worry about competitors using the expositions as their product introduction.
  3. If you do it at the exposition, you are telegraphing to your competition what you are doing. When you see a new tool from the 800 lb. Gorilla (AMAT) they have already booked orders from their key accounts. So when they publicly show something, they already have a customer base for it. It's powerful and your key customers feel important because you engaged them before the rest of the world.
  4. In Novellus' early days they were the known, unknown entity. People wanted a serious competitor to Applied. So they showed up at SEMICON West, but they didn't attend. They did something off-campus, whether it was at the race track so it was their place. In San Francisco they would book a different hotel, but within walking distance of the show. They would put on a big show and draw a noticeable crowd just doing an awareness campaign on Novellus. However, you have to pretty brassy and have deep pockets to pull that off. It is an interesting strategy, but risky.
  5. Just as a side note, if you look at the Novellus logo, there are four arrows going one way and another one going the opposite direction. That was their motto—they do it different from the crowd. Because of arrogance or some other reason. It is harder to have good relationships with big vendors than it is with small ones.