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The #1 First Best Global Leader in Posts About Marketing 2021
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Last week, I pontificated about why we should strive to remain honest in our marketing. In this post, we’ll look at one technique you can use to turn the truth into a weapon of mass-market destruction.
The superlative is my oldest and dearest marketing enemy. I’ve railed against it before, and I will again; the superlative refuses to die its timely death.
Early in my consulting career, I faced a major assignment: master search engine optimization. I was to become an expert on the topic to help my software client achieve superior results on search.
As you may know, search engine optimization begins with an audit. Audits involve combing through websites to find creative and technical opportunities to improve the site’s visibility.
It didn’t take long to find my first matter of concern, as it was the title of the homepage: The #1 [Blank]-[Blank] Platform. Can anyone in the class see where Billy went horribly wrong?
Upon reading, I go straight into criticism-mode. By what metric are you the number one blank-blank? Who awarded you this accolade? If you weren’t number one, would you change the title? (They have since changed it).
A superlative claim does nothing but invite skepticism. Certainly, some buy the argument that industry leaders exist, and we assign leadership positions in accordance with market dominance.
Of every dollar spent on fast-food, McDonald's receives 21-cents; second-place Starbucks scrapes by with a mere 91. McDonald’s is the number one fast-food business on the planet by a mile. But how often does McDonald's remind us of that fact? Not once.
By claiming your are number one, you cast doubt on your status. To prove that for yourself, try telling people you're popular. If they already knew, you’re crass to remind them. And if they didn't know, your mere claim does diddly-squat to convince them — in fact, they probably think you’re full of it.
Rather than tell us how successful they were, McDonalds showed us. When McDonald’s sold its 1-Millionth burger, its founder Ray Kroc wanted people to know. In 1955, McDonald’s restaurants across the country began put a hot new fact on the menu: Over 1,000,000 Served.
This was a genius ploy on two counts. First, it relied on truth. Putting truth in his marketing meant that if Kroc wanted to raise that number, and thereby the impact of its message, he’d have to grow the McDonald’s brand.
When we rely on truth in marketing, we create a virtuous cycle in business.
Second, his simple statement achieved the intended effect behind every superlative: it helped the customer discover what McDonald’s already knew: that McDonald’s was the number one fast-food restaurant in the world.
Show, Don’t Tell
There’s an old screenwriting adage that goes show, don’t tell. That pithy advice targeted writers that too often relied on expository dialog to feed the audience information. However, I believe it applies brilliantly to how we communicate to customers.
Zig Ziglar believed the professional salesperson never convinces the prospect, but helps the prospect convince themselves. A business which claims to be the best, first, or number one aims to convince the customer. But claims trigger scrutiny. If customers refuse to believe your claim, that can have negative impact on their buying decision.
A fact, on the other hand, demands nothing. Over 1,000,000 served, I read, “oh, they’ve served a million burgers? That sounds like a lot. I don’t see other places showing their burger count… These burgers must be something else then, otherwise how would they have sold a million of ‘em? I might as well see what all the fuss is about.”
The customer’s internal monolog won’t always go your way, but the superlative claim has a huge chance of falling flat on its face right out the gate with everyone but the negligently gullible.
Tell people you’re number one and they listen, show people you’re number one and they believe.
In your marketing and in your business, be a show-er, not a tell-er. To do so, look for novel facts about your business that help craft an image of success congruent with your brand.
If you’re marketing all-natural haircare products, list the questionable ingredients you exclude from your product. A local family-owned car dealership? List every generation who’s taken over the family business.
With a little bit of data-gathering elbow grease, I’m certain you can crank out the facts about your business that resonate with your audience and keep your operation an honest one.
Fast Food Market Share | T4. Www.t4.ai. Published 2021. Accessed August 9, 2021. https://www.t4.ai/industry/fast-food-market-share