Some of us are marketing products or services where our customers may not be aware that our approach – something that could be advantageous to them – even exists. The task isn’t being better than another supplier, but just awareness.
However, in most cases, we have direct competition. We’re up against other companies, with their own marketing departments just like us, trying to sell to the same people. What’s more, the customers out there are aware of all of us. We might try to pretend in our promotional material that the competition doesn’t exist, because that’s the ‘done thing’, but it’s denying reality. Customers are making the comparison, and we need to ensure they give us fair consideration.
Getting the message over
How many of us have been in the situation where a prospect has gone to the opposition, despite us having the better product or service? Often, that happens because we didn’t get our comparative message over well enough.
Avoiding this doesn’t mean publishing tables of comparative product performance, although honestly, we should ask ourselves why not. We do, however, need to be very clear in our minds what our strengths and weaknesses are, both at a corporate level and a technical product level. Customers will be making this comparison.
Undertaking this research, with frequent updates, is one of the best ways to focus on key promotional messages. A particular technical specification may seem minor, but if it’s the one that’s bringing in the orders, we need to know. Although sales teams can be reticent to give up this information, wanting to keep the credit for making the sales, it shouldn’t be hard to convince them that everyone benefits if our promotion focuses on the important stuff.