I’m guessing most content marketers agree that when you’re in the business of selling something, while competing with lots of others trying to sell similar offerings to the same target customers, the tendency to produce marketing material that focuses on the reasons your offerings are superior is tough to resist.
The temptation—and the all-too-common default action—is to develop content that boasts about the ways in which your company and/or products are better than those of your competitors by highlighting the advantageous features, benefits or pricing.
But in today’s world of ubiquitous mass media and social marketing, it’s difficult for your customers to cut through the clutter when your content blends in with the rest.
Truth is, when you play among a crowded field of contenders, the products and/or services each of you offers are likely very similar in terms of features, benefits, performance, etc. Whether you’re in the business of selling office technology, website design services, health club memberships or cars, the more you focus on how great your offerings are, the more likely it is your potential customers will become disengaged from your messaging and look in a different direction.
And if every company in your field employs similar “look at me” marketing tactics, that’s when products become more like commodities that gain market share only because they’re priced lower than competitive offerings.
My manager at Xerox has lead product marketing programs for many years. He’s witnessed the field of companies that sell printers and MFPs become very crowded. He also happens to be one the most vocal opponents of the commoditization end game.
His argument, which I’ve adopted wholeheartedly, is that despite the fact a product may share similar attributes with those of our many competitors, there is always a way to market a product in a way that highlights more than its features, benefits and pricing.
The key is to convince your target customers that they have specific business challenges, and to do so in a way that leads them to conclude your company best understands how to help solve them.
Which is to say, don’t focus on yourself or your products. Focus on disrupting your customers’ purchasing mindset.