Should You Be ‘Disruptive’ or ‘Best-in-Class’ When Positioning Your Company? Correct Answer: Neither of These.

Should You Be ‘Disruptive’ or ‘Best-in-Class’ When Positioning Your Company? Correct Answer: Neither of These.

How should you describe your company's position in the market? “What they really need to do is focus on the goals of transformation -- to be more agile, more customer-focused and more competitive, and find ways to be relevant to those goals.” So, given these professionals' vews and the results of our study, how can entrepreneurs ensure their messaging actually rings true? "If everyone is using the same words, then it’s time to break out and speak with a fresh voice.” 2. “Listen to your customers, capture their voice and play it back to them in your marketing,” Ivory told me. “I guarantee that they are not actually saying, ‘I really need a digital transformation solution.’" In other words: Don’t use buzzwords or overused terms. "An effective approach is to use the exact language your customers use to describe their pain points,” Mark Phillips, founder of the Better PR Now podcast, recommended to me in an interview. A good test audience can be found in your social media channels. No one is going to know about how well-positioned your company is if you don’t invest in a PR program. “One way to ensure consistency is to adopt what we describe as a ‘content repurposing’ approach,” Heinrich explained. Using core content assets in multiple ways ensures messaging consistency and dramatically increases the return on your content investment, she said.

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Should You Be 'Disruptive' or 'Best-in-Class' When Positioning Your Company? Correct Answer: Neither of These.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How should you describe your company’s position in the market? If it’s truly set to change the way people and companies do business, should you use words like “disruptive,” “cutting-edge” or even “bleeding-edge”?

At the same time, say you’re in a well-defined market. Should you establish your leadership with terms like “world-class,” “best-in-class” or “industry-leading”? Which of these words should you use?

Try … none of the above.

“Every day, companies send me press releases about their latest ‘disruptive,’ ‘revolutionary,’ ‘world-changing,’ ‘future-defining’ products, and every day I press ‘delete,’” Chris Matyszczyk, the writer of the columns “Technically Incorrect” for ZDNet, and “Absurdly Driven Inc.com,” told me.

Matyszczyk’s feelings seem to be shared, according to a recent survey by my company, Bospar PR. With more than 1,000 U.S. business decision-makers polled, the vast majority said they were turned off by those same marketing buzzwords Matyszczyk was. In fact, 88 percent considered marketing clichés detrimental to a company’s credibility.

“Disruptive” was the worst offender, according to 32 percent, almost a third of those surveyed. The rest of the terms got a similar thumbs-down response.

“I have encountered a feeling among marketing executives that grandiose language is more serious or professional,” my company’s chief content officer Tricia Heinrich, told me; she had worked with Propeller Insights to commission our research. “Unfortunately, [grandiose language] is also empty and imprecise,” Heinrich said .

What’s the solution? I asked. “Ideally, marketing materials spell out in clear and specific language how a product or service solves customers’ problems,” Heinrich said.

Roxanne Ivory, head of brand strategy at WHM Creative, had a similar take: “Every B2B company I work with wants to lead with ‘digital transformation’ and promote the idea that they have the only solution for solving this massive business challenge,” she told me. “What they really need to do is focus on the goals of transformation — to be more agile, more customer-focused and more competitive, and find ways to be relevant to those goals.”

So, given these professionals’ vews and the results of our study, how can entrepreneurs ensure their messaging actually rings true? Here are five steps I’d sugget to position your company credibly:

1. Do your homework.

Heinrich warned that uncertainty can lead to an over-dependence on platitudes and corporate clichés. “Don’t be a lazy marketer. Study your constituencies closely,” she said. “You will soon recognize the jargon to be avoided.”

Ivory recommended thoroughly understanding what your competitors are doing and how they…

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