Why “Better” Isn’t the Best
Better is a go-to word for many people when trying to differentiate their product or service from the competition. It’s understandable. When we think of why a customer might choose ours over theirs, of course we think it’s just plain “better.”
It may well be that your offerings are better than the competition’s, but from a consumer’s perspective, “better” doesn’t tell me much. Better to what degree? Better how? Better than what? If you’re tempted to use the word “better,” try these three approaches to create more useful and precise (ahem, not “better”) descriptions.
Quantify It: Better By What Measure?
When you want to attract people’s attention, specificity is crucial. Instead of saying that your product is better, provide data that shows how it’s better. Do you make better fruit juice or do you make 100 percent fruit juice with no preservatives? Do you build clients better websites, or do you build clients websites that attract up to 200,000 page views per month?
But be careful what you claim. Today’s consumers are skeptical—and rightly so. From miracle weight loss pills to vapid self-help books, businesses routinely make assertions they can’t support. Potential customers will see you as a fair dealer if you provide them with specific, objective information about your products or services.
Qualify It: Better In What Way?
What’s more compelling: “The Better Paper Towel,” or Bounty’s “The Thicker, Quicker Picker-Upper”? Clearly consumers will agree that thicker and quicker are admirable features in a paper towel (and it doesn’t hurt that they rhyme.) This catchy phrase immediately helps people grasp how the product benefits them.
Look at Little Caesar’s “$5 Hot-n-Ready”. .” The average person knows that Little Caesar’s pizza isn’t exactly New York City quality. But that’s not why you choose Little Caesar’s—the benefits are that it’s cheap and fast.
Don’t leave people wondering what the benefits of your product are. Show them what makes your product worth their time and money.
Compare It: Better than What Else?
From Yelp to Trip Advisor to Amazon, people are continually comparing products and services to make more educated decisions. Why not do the work for them?
If there are two otherwise similar hotels on the same street, but one of them is $10 less per night and has an indoor swimming pool, the choice is clear. Always specify how you’re superior to the competition. Make the consumer’s choice obvious.
Consider the example of colleges and universities. A small, liberal- arts college is competing to attract the same students as a Big Ten university. But the small school’s marketing is going to highlight different benefits—that they have more favorable student-to-teacher ratios or that they offer a better sense of community—whereas the big school might emphasize the variety of courses available or the diversity of its student body.
Now that you have some tactics to help you stand out from the competition, it’s time to make your marketing messages more specific, useful and, well, better!