I get the idea of using metaphors to illustrate a narrative. But there is a difference between that and simply inserting the name of a cool company to make your existing product suddenly feel young and hip. I’ve had countless pitches of this sort: “We’re like Uber, but for dog walkers,” “We’re the Airbnb of supermarkets,” “We’re like Netflix, but for wine lovers.”
So when I got an email from marketing automation company Act-On telling me that it is “bringing the Waze experience to marketing automation,” I bristle a lot. In this case, it is something of a bristle and a chuckle.
You see, Waze is the Israeli startup that was acquired by Google. It built a navigation tool that had a lot of real-time goodness included — Waze would surface traffic delays, accidents and speed cameras on a user’s route. But Waze also never quite succeeded as it wanted to — it didn’t get anything close to global coverage, its UI was (some suggest) clunky and, post-acquisition, it has pretty much been stripped bare and all the cool stuff has been added to Google Maps.