Marketing Idea: Three Ad Claims to Steer Away From

Prospective buyers often look for compelling reasons to switch from the brands or suppliers they have come to trust.  When they do, they seek evidence that the new brand will deliver the results that they promise. After all, there is a lot at stake for the customer when they switch suppliers. This is true whether you’re marketing to businesses or consumers.

This post explores three commonly used marketing claims that require extra homework before delivering them to your target audience. Accelerate your ability to connect with prospective buyers right from the beginning of your marketing efforts by providing the proof needed to back up these claims. Without evidence, these claims will fall way short of the goals you expect to achieve from your marketing.

“We’re an Industry Leader.”

Buyers often hear the “industry leader” claim, especially in the B2B space. Some manufacturing companies use this claim without providing the evidence that they’re the leader, which has me believing that the leader position may be self-appointed. If that’s so, then it’s a claim driven by an egocentric approach to business development rather than a customer-centric approach.

Based on a 2010 article by Economy Watch, an industry leader is defined as “Those brands, products or companies that have high dominance in the industry. Industry leaders have the largest percentage of market share with respect to overall sales revenues. Industry leaders are able to sustain their market dominance due to their image, distribution coverage, promotional expenditure and perceived value in the market.” A few examples that come to mind include Microsoft and Comcast in the digital arena, P & G in laundry detergent and McDonalds in fast food.

Consider how many players there are in certain product categories in the B2B arena. For example, there are 753 metal stamping companies serving manufacturing customers in Illinois. In such a fragmented business category, I would be careful not to claim leadership without the proper evidence.

I suggest that if you want to impress buyers, prove you are a leader. Leading companies excel in every facet of their business, from employee relations, to product quality, to innovative processing techniques. If your company can reach the highest bar on key measures of success, then the leadership claim would be appropriate.

“We have the best quality.”

Many companies say this about their product or service.  It’s a cost of entry for many business categories so be ready to back it up and not just claim it.

You can back it with relevant testimonials or endorsements. Buick does with Peyton Manning and Subway restaurants does it with Robert Griffin III. Of course, most small business owners can’t afford professional athletes to promote their brand so look to your industry for its own “celebrities” or “rock stars.”

Another approach to making the quality claim work for you, is using independent studies or certifications. You could provide the results of a study that documents the level of effectiveness of your product like Trident chewing gum does. It sites published studies that back up the effectiveness of a primary ingredient in its product. This leaves little doubt in the mind of the consumer about the objectivity of your claim.

“We are proud to serve our customers.”

This claim doesn’t tell the prospective buyer much at all about the service or product’s actual benefits. It focuses on the emotion the seller feels about their product.

Consumers will have a hard time relating to this claim because it doesn’t address their value equation. That equation is usually expressed in questions like “What do I get for my investment (i.e., my money)?” Consumers want to know what your product will do for them. Will your sporting equipment improve my score? Will your chewing gum make my teeth whiter? Will your tires give me better gas mileage? Will your windows make my home more energy efficient?

Any one of these three claims can work for your marketing message. However, they each require you to back them up with evidence if you want to win-over new customers. Make sure that your claim addresses their needs and desires, not the company’s. An ego-centric approach to marketing will fall way short of the desired outcome: developing new business!

Support your claim by offering a solid proof statement to your prospects. This means you must have a good understanding of the problems they face and how your product will help to solve them. It also means you must use strategies such as data or testimonials to back up the claim you use to help win them over.

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Mike Quill
Mike Quill

Mike Quill is President of Affinity Business Consultants, Inc. His clients benefit from his 20 years of experience in marketing, sales and new product development.