There are certain phrases that I have seen commonly used by car dealers and other businesses, which is a great example of a dangerous assumption. It’s usually some version of “Experience the Difference”. There are several aspects of this that, in my opinion, are dangerous and lack focus.
Here are just a few of the ambiguous assumptions it promotes:
- By stating “Experience the Difference”, you assume your audience has already had an experience of some kind. You’re asking them to experience a difference with no knowledge of whether they have had an experience at all. I understand that businesses and marketers sometimes think that there’s a pre-existing perception or experience that their target audience has had and I think that’s dangerous.
- This message is asking them to ‘experience’ by doing business with you when you have not given them any clear indication on why doing business with you is a good idea. It’s just different - that’s not a very powerful way to motivate a consumer.
- This approach is similar, in many respects, to why I dislike marketing campaigns that start with a question. It’s asking the consumer to take action or do business with you without a clear statement of benefit or, maybe even worse, highlighting a difference that might not be something they care about at all. Click here to read my full blog post regarding this topic.
- If you have consumer research or direct customer knowledge that has identified a difference between you and others who sell similar products or services then just state it.
How do you avoid assumption marketing?
The example I have cited is one of the most frequently used assumptive phrases, but there can be others like “Our product is better than XYZ” – I may not know anything about XYZ and better in what way? The way to avoid assumption marketing is to use clear, explicit language which tells the consumer the benefit to trying your product or service. Here are some examples of how to do that:
- For a car dealer or similar business whose difference is their upfront pricing instead of saying “Experience the Difference” say “Get no hassle, upfront pricing!”
- For those in a business where there is a potential negative perception about customer service simply say “Fast, friendly service”
- If your business believes the consumer perceives your business as impersonal say “We take the time to understand your needs”
I understand that it’s true, in business, you have to have some assumptions about your target audience and what their benefits sought might be without necessarily having in-depth research to support these assumptions. You may be in an industry which has experienced, over time, a negative image or perception – if that’s the case, it’s extra important to state what you WILL do for your target audience in clear, unambiguous terms.
If you have consumer research or direct customer knowledge that has identified a difference between you and others who sell similar products or services then just state it.