Break the Rules – Part 2

Welcome to the first edition of our brand new weekly series, Break the Rules. Each week our plan is to highlight something you will have heard from some marketing expert as a best practice to be disobeyed at your peril. And we’ll tell you why it’s a rule you should break.

Last week’s rule was Use Shorter Subject Lines.

This week’s rule = Don’t Mention Competitors

Mentioning competitors in your marketing is considered taboo. Most marketers will tell you to avoid it for various reasons.

The first reason, they’ll say, is that when you name your competitors, you are clueing your consumers into the fact that they exist. Maybe your consumers had no idea there were other companies out there that offer what you do. Why would you do them a favor and promote them, even if it is done in a way to show that you’re better?

The next reason they will give is that when you call out your competitors, they will do the same to you. When there are multiple companies competing for the same customers, most times none of you will mention the other by name. But once one company breaks the silence, others will join in the fight. It will get more personal, and the competition will get even more competitive.

Most times I would give this same advice. But in the interest of trying something new, we must break the rules. And this is one rule I think you should break.

How you break this rule is up to you, but here is one suggestion. Create a page on your website that people will frequent and create a simple chart that compares your company to others in the space. Pick the most popular or biggest brands in your space. Illustrate what you do that is better than them.

For example, if your prices are lower, show them side by side. If you offer better service, more value, longer hours, etc. show it all. Any way that you’re better than they are is worth calling out in your chart. This will give customers a side by side comparison that they might be looking for. And it will clearly demonstrate the value you offer better than you could ever say otherwise.

However you choose to do it, start calling out your competitors and shake things up in your market.

Have a “rule” you think we should write about? Share it with us in the comments below or post it to Twitter @zheller using #marketingrules