Let’s look at some of the biggest and most overused clichés in marketing: “quality, value and service.”
These are used far too often in marketing messages for all kinds of companies. It gets to the point where the messages and even the words themselves can become interchangeable.
The next three marketing taglines are just ones I made up on the spot, and I’m trying to be humorous here, but these aren’t too far removed from reality:
- “Because we value our customers, we provide quality service.”
- “If you want quality value, rely on the service you can trust.”
- “Service quality leads to value – and that’s something you can count on!”
What do companies really mean when they use these words? Is it just lazy copywriting, or do these companies truly believe what they say?
Because when I see an ad – or a website, or a slogan, or any kind of marketing message – that uses words like “quality, value and service,” I see a missed opportunity.
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Customers have been bombarded for so long with “quality, value and service” that these words have lost all meaning. If you want to really convey a message that shows these characteristics, you need to go deeper into your unique competitive advantage – what is it about your company that truly is “quality”?
Every company needs to look for ways to get past each of these three clichés to “go deeper” and create a “real” marketing message grounded in their actual competitive advantage.
You can talk about quality without using the word “quality,” you can talk about your service without using the word “service,” and you can demonstrate your value without using the lazy shortcut of saying “value.”
- Quality: What exactly is it about your products or services that is such high quality? Instead of using the generic word “quality,” get specific: talk about how your artisanal cheeses are made from traditional hand crafting techniques, on a farm that’s been in the family for three generations. Talk about how your new IT solution has a 99% error-free rate. Talk about how your dental practice has retained 100% of its clients for the past five years.
- Value: What exactly is it about your product or service that delivers value to your customers? Again – get specific. Are you able to deliver value-added services that justify your higher price? Are you able to be faster or more responsive than the competition? Can you offer any guarantees? And with the “value” conversation, it helps to understand exactly what it is that your customers value about your product. This is one of the biggest disconnects between companies and their customers – when companies don’t know what their customers truly value.
- Service: How would your best customers – your biggest fans – describe your service? Would they use generic terms like, “Bob’s Web Design has great service!” Or would they say, “Bob’s Web Design has always been there when I needed them, they’re fast, responsive and ready to work on short notice. They’ve always gotten the job done with time to spare and they have 24/7 emergency on-call service.” Again – be specific. Paint a picture of how exactly you serve your customers. What can you deliver or guarantee that makes your company unique?
So don’t be afraid to talk about “quality, value and service.” But do it in such a way that it’s grounded in the specifics of your business and reflects the competitive advantage of your company. This is what you can do to really anchor your company in the minds of your customers – and avoid being ignored, like so many companies talking about “quality, value and service.”