I was originally going to write this blog post to help marketers spot hype in their green marketing claims.
But then, I had an epiphany.
Why focus exclusively on green marketing that may have gone awry at the fringes?
Hype in marketing is far from exclusive to the green crowd and honesty is needed in every claim your marketing makes.
I decided to think a little bigger – much bigger – by sharing four key questions you should ask about any marketing claim to help you slice through hype and deliver true value to customers.
Question #1. Is our claim tangible?
Our senses love being rewarded, so if your claim offers tangible value, the nature of it should connect directly to the customer experience.
For example, let’s look at the copy above from a recent experiment on green marketing.
The “green value” is in the nature of the manufacturing process and is directly connected to the quality of the product.
This leaves one more thing to consider when crafting tangible claims: Does the nature of the claim actually make the end product more appealing?
Question #2. Is our claim relevant to customers’ needs?
I like these examples because all of them, while noble in cause, do not directly connect to a relevant problem a customer is having.
For example, I live in Florida and my desire to avoid sunburns gives the SPF of a sunscreen a greater relevance to my needs than just about any other claim.
Consequently, this is where focusing on claims that are relevant can mitigate the risk of associating products with ideas or causes that are abstract.
A biodegradable pen is nice to have. A biodegradable pen with 12% more ink than the next guy is even better.
The power of relevance rests in crafting copy that deals directly with any key concerns already present in the mind of a customer.
Question #3. Is our claim unique?
It can be tough to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Identifying and expressing the exclusivity and appeal of the differentiators your product or service offers is the best way to avoid the pitfall of “me too” marketing claims.
Question #4. Is our claim true?
As I mentioned, my original goal was to help you spot hype, and from my experience, claims that underperform have a greater tendency for being generic.
If you claim looks like one of these examples borrowed from the MECLABS Value Proposition Development Course, it probably needs some work:
- We empower your software decisions.
- I don’t sell products and services; I sell results — my guarantee.
- We help people find their passion and purpose.
- We are the [generic claim] [company jargon] provider.
- Get found online.
- This site has what the person is looking to find.
The best thing you can do to add credibility to generic claims is strip them down and add quantifying values your product offers that are relevant to customer pain points.
Ultimately, these four questions serve one purpose: transparency.
Holding your marketing up to the light and shedding the hype helps you connect with a modern marketplace full of skeptical customers who crave transparency.
This also means what they see should always be what they get.
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