Do your customers and prospects prefer your offerings to that of the competition?
Needless to say, if you can prove that they do, it can be a boon to your marketing efforts.
The most famous “proof” of competitive superiority is the Pepsi Challenge, which Pepsi launched in 1975 to prove that they were better than Coca-Cola. Consumers at shopping malls across America tasted Pepsi and Coca-Cola in unmarked cups. After indicating their preference, they learned whether they had selected Coca-Cola or Pepsi. According to Pepsi, which ran the tests, consumers consistently preferred Pepsi to Coca-Cola.
There are some who have suggested that it wasn’t a fair test, but the Pepsi Challenge still has some interesting lessons for us marketers. Running a test or collecting statistics that credibly lead our sales prospects to believe that we are better than our competitors is an exercise that can pay big dividends.
Here’s another example. The Stradivarius violin, which is sacred in musical circles, recently had its comeuppance in a blind test against competitors. Stradivari are so acclaimed for their sound that they now sell for millions of dollars apiece. Yet, in a recent double-blind study conducted by a French acoustics physicist Claudia Fritz, professional violinists were not able to discern an old Stradivarius from a new violin made in 1980. Moreover, most of the violinists preferred the new violin to the Stradivarius. Of course, this test also had some doubters but the results have been heard far and wide regardless.
What an amazing marketing coup for the maker of that new violin: “Rigorous tests have proven that our violin sounds better than a Stradivarius!”
It would be so nice if our Chicago PR firm could run double-blind tests that could prove we get better PR results than the big firms that charge three times as much and deliver a fraction of the results we deliver.
The same goes for our marketing strategy consultants and our digital services team. Put us in the ring with any competitor, and we will knock them out cold. Give them the same marketing challenge as us and see who does better. I have no doubt that we will outperform them — every single time.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of us cannot do our own equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge.
Instead, you and I must rely on more traditional marketing methods to spread the word regarding the value we offer.
You must promote your strengths and count on those customers who take a leap of faith to try you out, rather than going with the incumbent.
Over time, you will find customers who have worked with both you and your competitors who are willing to speak up and say that you are the better firm. There will be a tipping point when — finally — the world recognizes you as one of the best.
It takes time and effort to get there, but have faith.
Remember, the cream always rises to the top”¦and sludge always sinks to the bottom.