What’s your Point?
Consumers have so much information and so many choices that the are always looking for help. That help might come from their past experiences, information that they’ve researched, of advice from friends.
In the article How People Decide, I talked about the typical decision making process. The next step is guiding the consumer to make the decision to choose you.
Don’t make your customer try to figure out how you stack-up against the competition. Do it for them.
An easy way to help your customer compare your offering against the competition is to use ‘Points of Parity’ and ‘Points of Difference’. Once you’ve given them that information, you need to follow-up with a ‘Reason to Believe’.
Giving Consumers a Reason to Choose You
- Points of Parity
The first thing that a consumer is going to look for is your ‘Points of Parity.’ What makes you even worthy of being in their consideration set? No need to get fancy – just let the consumer know why you belong in a particular category.Answer the question, “We’re as good as the competition because…”
- Points of Difference
Once you’ve made it into the consumer’s consideration set, you need to give them a reason to choose you over the others. This is where you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. If there is nothing unique about you relative to your competitors, then the customer will just be left to choose the lowest price option. Unless your generic strategyis Cost Leadership, you probably don’t want that.Answer the question, “Unlike our competitors, we …”
- Reason to Believe
This part is often forgotten because we think, “Why wouldn’t the consumer believe me?” You need to turn it around and ask, “Why would the consumer believe me?” There are several ways to address believability: customer referrals, third-party reports, or authority figure endorsement. The direction you take will be dependent on your specific question.Answer the question, “You can believe us because …”
This exercise forces you to think hard about what you want your message. It must be clear, consistent, and centered around the consumers’ decision making process.
You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can help your target customers to choose you if you give them your Points of Parity, Points of Difference, and Reasons to Believe.
Source: Kellogg on Branding: The Marketing Faculty of The Kellogg School of Management by Philip Kotler, Alice M. Tybout and Tim Calkins
Chris McPhee, MBA