Compared to … What???
“Our brand gets your shirts whiter!”
“Our mouthwash keeps your breath fresh longer!”
“Our battery lasts longer!”
It’s no secret consumers are bombarded with generic comparative messaging. But while this is the norm in much of the advertising world, there’s no proof that it’s the right way to go. In fact, most consumers regard generalities as no more than opinion.
Direct marketing tests have proven that the more specific a comparison is, the more valid the consumer considers it. This reveals a powerful tool for copywriters and marketers. And while it requires a little bit of homework, the payoff can be great.
While many of us have seen infomercials with dramatic demonstrations of how a product works, we who deal with catalogs have a challenge when we want to make a show-and-tell comparison that grabs customers’ attention and gains their trust.
Of course, you must do fresh research before you start telling your customers about the competition. Research is vital to comparison copy because your perception of what’s desirable to customers may be completely different than reality!
The kind of research that can help you discover what your customers really want includes online research, focus groups and even phone research to existing customers. I recommend using an outside research source that can approach this in a completely unbiased fashion.
This research should focus on some specific products that are in these kinds of scenarios:
1. You know there’s a competitor breathing down your neck; or
2. It’s a very crowded field, and you’re seeking your unique selling proposition.
Then Ask These Questions:
• Have you owned items like this before?
• What’s the most important aspect of this product?
• What makes it something you’d want to purchase?
These answers will zero in on your products that stack up better than the competition’s. They also provide the exact “buttons to push” to develop copy that sets you apart from the crowd in a way your customers will buy into.