Comparison Tables: Smart or Dangerous?
Recently, the following question was posted anonymously on a site called FounderDating: “Should I name our competitor in our features comparison table, or does that just amount to free publicity?”
Started in 2009, FounderDating was started as a place where entrepreneurs could find co-founders. FounderDating invited industry experts (advisors) to join in 2014. Founders could then either seek them out directly, or pose a question, tag it with keywords for specific category expertise and then sit back and wait for response.
In total, more than three dozen individuals responded to the question posed above — the first 16 within five hours of the post. But the discussion that ensued was fascinating and because this is a topic that I’ll be covering in webinar I’m participating in on May 3, I thought it was a valuable topic to review here.
Before I get to the various ideas that were provided, here’s some background on the company that posed the question:
"We are a new entry into a very niche market... we also have a vastly superior product offering to that of our competitors. Our features blow them away, but we are slightly higher in price. My thought was to provide a features-comparison table to justify our pricing relative to theirs. My concern is whether to name them or just say "Us" vs "Them" or "Others", etc.. Thoughts?"
To me, the idea of a comparison chart and the use of named competitors is a strategic marketing question, but the advice poured in from CTOs, CFOs, CEOs, attorneys, a pricing specialist, engineers, other founders — but only one or two marketers. And, as expected, the collective responses were all over the map.
After reading all of them, I’m not sure any one answer provided the most valuable perspective. Some were dismissive of even including a chart at all, while others suggested only naming well-known competitors and information about them that was available publicly (ie. proved the point).
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.