A selection from the new book: Different Rules – the B2B Marketer’s Guidebook to Product Differentiation
B2B “Differentiators” to avoid – Part 2
By Chris Wirthwein
Thousands upon thousands of B2B marketers use similar messages, including, I’d be willing to bet, competitors of yours. You can’t be different when you say the same thing as a competitor. Here’s a generic message to avoid.
“We really, really care for our customers;” “We’re committed to customer success;” etc.
Today, just about every company knows to be customer-centric. It’s to the point where talking about it has become meaningless, perhaps even insincere. Truth is, lots of suppliers care about their customers. And every supplier has satisfied customers who believe they receive great care and attention. This means many customers you wish to woo already believe they get great service from their current supplier. Don’t insult them by implying they’re getting or accepting lousy service. We once tested a message that tried to convince users of a competitive product they were “compromising” and could do better. The audience took offense and that was the last time we mentioned it.
But what if you do care more than others and you really, really, really take care of your customers? My advice: don’t say it. No one will believe you. Find something else differentiating to talk about. I realize not everyone will follow my suggestion. So, if you must talk about how much you care for your customers, stick to facts. Explain what you do that’s different and relevant in concrete terms. Say things like, “We ship 99.95 percent of orders in 24-hours or less…” or, “our employees (not call center subcontractors) answer our phones 24/7/365.” Or pass along what others say about you: “Machine shop owners rank us #1 in on-time deliveries, as reported by…” or: “6,274 five-star ratings and counting.” Consider using direct quotes from satisfied customers by name and company.
Customer quotes and the permission to use them aren’t always easy to come by. But it’s usually worth the effort to get them. Real praise from real customers shows you care way more than simply saying those words yourself.
Chris Wirthwein is Senior Director for 5MetaCom, a marketing agency that develops strategies and campaigns to differentiate B2B technical and scientific products. He has authored three marketing books, including his latest, Different Rules: The B2B Marketer’s Guidebook to Product Differentiation. You can reach Chris on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.