If everyone can say it, you shouldn’t
“We love what we do” is not unique; it will not set you apart in the marketplace and it rarely has value for your customer. It can be a very important part of your “About Us” story, but it’s not a strong place to start your marketing.
I often ask clients “what is unique about your company/product/service”? “What does a customer get from you they don’t get from anyone else?” Many times I get answers like, “We love what we do”, and “We make the best product” or “We’ve been doing this for X number of years and we know the industry inside and out.”
Those are great things to believe about yourself — the problem is that your competitors can say the exact same thing.
Keeping it real
I’ve worked in healthcare for many years and in this regulated arena, product claims are intensely reviewed. If you can’t prove it to the FDA or if it’s not backed up by evidence you cannot say it. The philosophy of building on information rather than assertion is a smart way to approach marketing.
“We make the best product.” Can you objectively prove that? Has it been tested or rated head-to-head with a competitor? Your competitors will tear into a statement like that and leverage it in their sales strategy to show how their product/service is better and why your claims and business should not be trusted.
“We’ve been doing this X number of years and we know the industry inside and out.” I have no doubt your competitors can make a similar claim only changing the X. The thing that is missing is what has come from all those years within your industry? How do they benefit your customers? Have you innovated your processes? How specifically? Have you learned to be more responsive? Prove how? The application of that experience is what impacts your customer.
Three Marketing Questions
There are three fundamental marketing questions. Any of them might uncover that sought after unique attribute. They are 1) “Who are you?”, 2) “What do you do [better than anyone else]?”, 3) “Why do these things matter?” It can be difficult to answer all three. “Why it matters” is sometimes the most difficult, but it’s the most important question to answer.
The goal of those questions and the conversation that follows is to reveal what a company’s unique selling proposition is. This is an essential part of marketing. Finding that one message no one else has and then own it.
In addition to being unique, your messaging needs to be defensible. Defensible can be broken down into a few elements, authenticity being one. It has to be true. It can be somewhat romanticized, but at its core, it needs to be true. A defensible message is crucial. You don’t want to open the door to your competitors using your own words against you to take business away from you.
It needs to matter to your customer. If you do something that has little impact on your customers, even if true, it may not have marketing value. If, for example, you sell a premium electronic widget, your customer probably doesn’t care about how much warehouse space you have. It doesn’t impact them or their experience with the product.
A stake in the ground
It takes work to find the right messaging. It takes time to build awareness in your marketplace and to your customers. Don’t waste your efforts on something that doesn’t separate you from the pack.
Loving what you do and being proud of your product is great and belongs as part of your larger narrative. They should be mentioned on your website and marketing material. But they aren’t strong enough to support your marketing strategy.
Similarly, there will be things you need to say to validate yourself in your industry and it will be similar to what your competitors will say. Because everyone is saying it only highlights that its value is secondary at best after a stronger, unique message.
Ultimately, your customer’s attention span is short. They’ll only start paying attention when they realize that something that was able to rise above the chatter has value to them.
If your competitors are saying it, you shouldn’t.