Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marketing: If You Can't Say Something Nice...

I think I'm old-school.

Perhaps I've missed some new data or wisdom.

Suddenly I see anti-marketing cropping up, and I find myself wrinkling my nose like the Queen of England smelling something bad.

What do I mean when I say "Anti-marketing"? I mean marketing based on criticizing your competitors instead of touting your own accomplishments, features, benefits or advantages.

So, instead of Avis's famous "We're #2 we try harder", in anti-marketing land they might have gone with "We're not like *other* (unnamed, but totally obvious) car rental companies that have [insert lame policy here]!"

One of the most prominent anti-marketing campaigns I've seen in the last year has been's ads that exist solely to say they're not Sharepoint. I'm hardly the only person to notice the campaign being negative, and to complain that it didn't really tell me why I should care about In fact, truth is: We're a user and all those negative billboards and ads did was make me think I should check out Sharepoint to see what all the fuss was about!

My advice is to stop after you've touted what is awesome, unique and amazing about you and your offering. You don't have to be coy about it. And you don't have to give your prospects any funny ideas. If they've been checking out your competitors, they'll know that the benefits you're describing are different or better. If they haven't been checking them out, they probably won't even start, hearing how awesome, unique and amazing you are!

If you feel the need to follow up with a thinly veiled reference to who or what you are not, maybe you're not proud enough of who or what you are.

Just to be fair: I realize this post could be considered a total example of me being all thinly-veiled myself, so I will say it was the billboards cropping up last year that started me thinking about this subject, but it's the marketing that goes on in the social media space that keeps me thinking about it! And challenges me always to remember: Anti-marketing won't fix lack of differentiation...or unclear articulation of differentiation.

It's a small world. Most industries are small industries. Today's competition may be tomorrow's collaborator, both at the individual and organizational level. And I'm an old-fashioned marketer who doesn't want to tear others down to build my brand.

Am I impossibly old-school? Missing the boat? Shooting myself in the foot?


Part of business. Its all up to you how to market your product.--might be in the nice way or in the 'other way'.
Always focus on your business.
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