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Trashing Your Competition

May 30, 2007  

It’s easy to admire Apple’s stylish TV spots, which personify the Mac as a smart hipster bemused by the luckless PC’s endless problems. The ads highlight a Mac’s pros and a PC’s cons with irreverent glee and—some might suggest—a degree of smug self-satisfaction.

Apple can get away with it, but not many companies can take on the “leading brand” with such panache. Before using marketing dollars to call out your own competition, blogger Spike Jones has some advice: Don’t. Why?

  • You’re spending your money to highlight a competitor’s features and benefits. Even worse, if you mention the company by name, you’re reminding your target audience of other options.
  • It looks like you’re nervous about the competition. Small companies send the message that they’re being trounced by the big boys and larger companies give the impression that they’re losing market share. In either case, you lose. Potential customers will assume you feel threatened for a good reason.

Another point to consider: No company exists in a vacuum. Jones claims, “People are savvy. They shop around. Compare on their own. And, above all, ask their friends what they think."

The Po!nt: Dissing the competition might do you more harm than good, and the cost of doing so comes straight out of your marketing budget.

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