Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Use Defensible Claims for more Effective Marketing

In the marketing world, words matter.  Communicating company value in a clear and concise manner can be harder than one may think.  With over 170,000 words in the English language, how do you chose the right words to convince a prospect your product/service is better than the competition?  Use too many words and lose the readers interest.  Too few words and you may not convey the whole story.  Savvy marketers create effective, efficient communications by choosing their words wisely and leveraging superlatives in brief defensible claims.

Superlatives are adjectives that compare three or more nouns.  These adjectives take a comparison to the highest kind, quality or order.   Unlike a comparative adjective that only refers to two nouns (“my car is faster than yours”) superlatives take only the very upper or lower limits of the attribute they describe (“My car is the fastest car in the race.”).

To compete in any market, you must have at least one superlative for your product or service.  You have to be the biggest, smallest, brightest, lightest, toughest, longest, shortest or most intelligent option available.  If you are not THE superlative in a large market, you must segment the market to a point where you have a leadership position.  So, if your car is not the “fastest in the race” can you say it is the “fastest sub compact in the race?”

Be careful.  If you segment your market too much you may diminish your statement.  Even more, segmenting may engage a prospect further down their buying process, so you should edit your message accordingly.  Looking for “a safe mode of transportation” usually comes at an early stage in the purchase pathway compared to “the safest battery powered, 4-passenger, Japanese-made automobile.”

Market segmentation yields different defensible claims.
Sample market segmentation to get the right defensible claim.

Promotional statements containing superlatives are known as defensible claims.  Defensible claims are an easy way to articulate your value proposition to the consumer telling them how your product or service differs from all the others.  Crafting these claims is a challenge.  Each statement should be relatively short, easy to understand and above all, defensible.   If you can’t prove a statement with quantitative data or believable research, you should either alter the claim or discard it.  The moment you release your claim to the market, someone (usually your competitors) will challenge its validity.  You should be prepared to support your claims quickly and effectively with data and background available to everyone in your company.

Marketing is never easy and choosing the right words for your campaigns is always challenging.  If you spend some time thinking about how your product/service is positioned at the upper or lower limit of a market then you have a good foundation for strong defensible claims.  After all, if you want to be the best in your market, you have to have the most powerful message.    

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