What Works, What Doesn’t: Me-Too Claims

My daughter is currently attending college information sessions, and the other day complained about how useless most of them are. “Everyone uses almost the same words when they talk about how you’ll `get to work closely with professors,`” she complained. “And every dean of admissions tells us that life on campus is so interesting because they have 150 clubs. Everyone uses the same number – 150 – and they say it in an excited tone of voice like that’s what makes them different than everyone else.”

As she was talking, I got to thinking about how often I’ve heard professional services companies breathlessly describe how they “listen to customers” or “work for their customers’ success?” Or how often I’ve seen IT vendors tick off the same list of features and functions without describing what makes their offering faster, cheaper or better than the competition.

If my daughter does enough digging she’ll eventually find out which schools are right for her. But why make her – or any other customer – work so hard? Why can’t a college say “We pride ourselves on the fact that more than half our graduates have made a million bucks in hedge funds within five years of graduating? “(Or are working with refugees in the Sudan or developing network security software or whatever areas the school specializes in.) Why not say, up-front, that sports is really, really important to the campus culture – or that interpretative dance or vegan-only dorms are a point of pride?

Whatever makes your product or service different and special, the customer will eventually find out. Why not cut through the marketing jargon and tell them up front? My tips:

Compare your messaging to that of your competitors. If more than 50 percent of the buzzwords match, you’ve got a problem.

Show your messaging to your mother, sibling or other non-technical outsider. If they don’t understand what makes you better than your competitors, a lot of potential customers won’t either.

Ask your existing satisfied customers what makes you better or different and be sure that differentiation is explained up-front and clearly in your messaging.

That way, you won’t be hiding your light under a bushel and forcing your customers to search for it.


Bob Scheier Associates

Business Writing That Translates IT Jargon Into Business Benefit

(508) 869-6216



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Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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