Competitive Marketing: Discuss

Firstly: I'm aware that we can't discuss here. I don't have a comments facility as yet (very much a work in progress here - the priority is to get my thoughts down on-screen first without too much ugly clutter on the site at first), but I'd be happy to engage with people on Twitter as always.

And now for a disclosure: I'm a technical consultant. That means that over the course of a working week I'm probably going to speak with 3-5 vendors to receive a sales pitch, usually at a technical level. You would expect that these pitches would focus on what makes Product X great, but more often than not the tend to boil down to "Our competitors are terrible, and that's why you should buy Product X". As soon as I hear this I go on the defensive, because as far as I'm concerned if the best thing about a product is that it's not a competing product (which in many cases is actually really popular with customers, and for good reason) then I (and by virtue of this, my customers) lose interest. I start asking the tough questions that I have probably already figured out the answers to.

Don't get me wrong: it's important to show what makes you different to the competition, but I'd much prefer for this to be done in a positive manner ("look at the idea that we had that makes us a snowflake") than through slinging mud, and the latter happens the vast majority of the time. If someone pitches to me in the former manner then I'm immediately interested - examples of vendors who have done this recently include Tufin, Tintri and vArmour. I'll not give examples of the negative pitchers, because there are too many and I don't really want to give them publicity.

So then: how do people feel about this? Interested to hear from folk on both sides of the coin.