by Peter Watts
“I want to emphasize that while negative advertising works in politics, it seldom works in product sales”
In his copywriting and direct marketing blog, Dien Rieck points out an important point to keep in mind when presenting.
Don’t knock the competition!
Customers are there to hear you present about your product, not about someone else’s. Attacking competitors comes across as arrogant and unethical, and frequently leads to bite-backs from the audience.
So, how to bring across your product’s advantages over “Brand X” if you can’t mention them by name?
Where you have a strong competitor that you want to position your product favorably against, have the habit of thinking about your presentation from two dimensions:
- How is my product better than the competitor?
- Where is the competitor better than me?
Ensure that every point within the presentation points to your strengths in ways that make them truly standout for the audience. Link the strengths to the customer’s needs and demonstrate them clearly. If that strength also happens to be one of your differential advantages, put it front and center of the presentation.
How about the weaknesses?
If there are known weaknesses in your product that you feel your competitor might seek to exploit, then your task is to counter-balance them. Let’s take a mobile phone as an example. Maybe your competitor has a significantly bigger screen than you do, and you believe that this might be where they pitch their presentation; all the lovely apps and toys that the customer could run.
What are the counter-measures for this? One could be the ungainly weight and size of their product due to that larger screen. The competitor will also most probably suffer from a reduced battery life, unless of course the bigger panel is accompanied by a bigger battery, which equals even more bulk and weight! If this is the case, make sure you have sections in your presentation that deal with how essential a long battery life is for the mobile user. Without long-battery life you are forced to carry extra power chords or batteries, adding even more to size and weight.
Paint a vivid picture of how your product allows the mobile user to have an easy life on the road, not having to worry about re-charging and with a product perfectly designed to sit easily in the pocket.
Do a good job, and the customer will value your benefit of long battery life and easy mobility, thereby discounting the advantage of your competitor.
By using powerful positives to position your products strengths, and then well chosen counter-measures to offset it’s weaknesses, you can create a highly targeted competitive presentation, without once mentioning the competition!