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  • Daniel Ravner

Your client doesn't want the best

In marketing, we are tempted to find a way to display our product as the best there is (i.e., the best for a certain need, the best for a certain sector, the best ROI). However, for our clients, buying the best is not the real motivator. They don’t want the best; they want to avoid making a mistake. Let’s start with B2B: Let’s say a VP of procurement or CISO considers taking on your services or software. If all goes well, they get a pat on the back. If it turns to be a mistake, they get blamed for the failure that hurt the company. There is more punishment for a bad choice than rewards for a good one. This is where the old adage “No one was ever fired for buying an IBM” comes from. It might not be the best choice for the firm, but it sure ain’t a mistake.

You don't want the best

Let’s look at how this relates to a B2C setting: Look no further than yourself. Let’s say you want to buy a fridge. You see the same product specs for two appliances, one an unknown brand and the other a better-known brand (GE or LG) that costs $300 more. Which one will you choose? You’ll probably shell out the extra cash and go with the known brand because it instills much less fear that it’ll stop working six months from now.

We all want reliability

This principle is applied to marketing. In short, it’s all about saying you are the best (for their needs) but selling them reliability. You can do it with testimonials, showing that others have already tried your services or products and were happy with them. You can do it by displaying your clients in your deck or site. This tells your prospective buyer that you know what you are doing and not learning the trade at his expense. What if you are pre-launch and still don’t have clients? Display your team’s backgrounds, including earlier successes that say that you are trustworthy. (This is why investors like to be introduced to new startups; what came through recommendations has a smaller chance of being a waste of time and money.) You get the gist.