nortelblueNortel pushed hard on 'green ethernet switching' against the market leader in enterprise switching. They had ads in the show guide claiming up to 50% lower energy consumption over the equivalent Cisco switching product.

The badge insert invited conference attendees to calculate their Cisco Energy Tax. Even NetworkWorld picked up a story that a school district stopped processing a $2 million order because of the claim.

Begin green pays. [See The Power of Green report.] Proving green pays too. 

And in the booth they had signage and a booth pod with an XL spreadsheet to compare box to box and typical power consumption to bring it all back to cost of ownership.

I've always been a big fan of using changing market dynamics (people really care about climate change and about the high cost of energy) to change the industry priorities and redefine the performance features for a product category – especially when the market place is so big and so dominated by one player (Cisco).

cisco-tax-signThe Energy Tax Calculator tells a clear story validated by third party testing by the folks at Tolly Group. I would expect Nortel will push this point as far and as hard as they can. Sort of like the Pepsi Taste Challenge in the mid-1980s. 

Cisco may choose to ignore it. Respond in kind (a la Coke Classic) or figure out how to improve it. Nevertheless, it will take time for Cisco to respond which should give Nortel plenty of time to pick up market share, customers and much needed revenues. To become the equivalent of the Pepsi Taste Challenge, Nortel needs to tell this story as often as possible. It's not about spending millions on TV ads, but about making the testing pervasive. Like poking your opponent with a stick in the eye, this kind of campaign can go a long ways.

Sadly, I was not able to see their campaign on the Nortel website and hope that it will get there soon.  

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