Verizon and AT&T are locked in a battle for my mind. Every TV show I watch seems to have a commercial in which one of them talks about how they are better than the other. One of them (but I’m not sure which one) shows two side-by-side color-coded maps indicating national coverage of their phones. That way, if I ever think I’ll be in Timbuktu Utah, I’ll know which phone company will provide coverage.
Cell phone companies aren’t the only guilty party who feel compelled to spend valuable marketing time comparing themselves to their competitors: Car manufacturers frequently point out how their car is more [whatever] than competing brands; insurance companies talk about how their rates are lower, their coverage is better, or their agents are smilier than their competitors; and politicians frequently invest in mudslinging ads during campaigns.
It’s important to be competitive in your marketing and to point out how you are great. But do you notice something about these organizations? They’re so similar! And, that similarity creates a lack of loyalty. And these competitors feel that the only way they can win your loyalty is by showing you how much the other guy sucks.
When you spend most of your time pointing out your competitor’s flaws, there’s a very good chance that you are too similar to your competitor.
Take another look at your marketing. If you mention “the other guys” or, worse yet, you mention your competitors by name, then you need to go farther back up your value chain and create more differentiators into your product or service. Aim to be so differentiated that you have no competitors.
[Photo credit: Arenamontanus]