Focus Your Marketing (and Strategy) More on New Than on Better

Posted on by in Business, Change, Communication, Creativity/Innovation, Design, Entreprenuership, Goals, Leadership, Marketing, Planning, Pricing, Remarkability, Strategy

When you go to buy something yourself, are you more interested in getting the “New” thing or the “Better” thing? Which one gets you more excited? Note: this even applies to Apple. When they introduce something that’s improved (for ex. speed) it gets a yawn. But when they introduce something new (for ex. Face Time or the iPad) “everyone” gets excited.

Yet, what do most owners and CEOs (and their companies) focus their marketing (and strategy) on? Exactly! Being better than their competitors. “Our technology is 10% faster than theirs.” “We have the best pizza in town.” “Our bank has the best customer service in our city.” “Our music rocks more than your church’s music.” “Our paper towels are the better picker uppers.” Etc. Etc. Etc. And yawn, yawn, yawn.

I don’t know if you read “Blue Ocean Strategy” or not, but the metaphor that Kim and Mauborgne laid out in that book is perfect for this point. Their main idea was/is that most companies attempt to compete in a red ocean (an ocean filled with competitors where each is extracting blood from the other) which leads to commoditization and low margins/profits. Instead, they argue, you want to create a blue ocean where you’re the only one who does what you do–which also leads to uniqueness and higher margins/profits.

In essence, it’s the same point I’m making here about marketing (and strategy). Whenever you’re focusing your attention on being better than someone else, you’ve automatically defaulted to a red ocean marketing strategy. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that strategy. Being able to claim that your product or service is better by some quantifiable measure (Zyrtex works two hours faster than Claritin) is not a terrible marketing strategy. But it doesn’t get the same attraction and attention that something new does (a la Apple).

Several years ago, Al Ries and Jack Trout, in their book on the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing brought this to the forefront, when they said,

“Everyone is interested in what‘s new. Few people are interested in what‘s better.” — Al Ries and Jack Trout

I can’t say it any better. In fact, you may want to write that statement on a wall somewhere (like in your conference room). Most marketing campaigns and strategy sessions are focused on being “better,” which isn’t bad–it’s just not great. What you want to focus on is “new, because ”everyone“ pays attention to the ”new“ and ”different“ or ”unique“ thing. Better just gets lost.

So, as you take a look at your company’s products and services, what can you add or change to create something ”new“ and ”different“ this year? What can you do to set your company apart from all the others in your market space? What could possibly create a blue ocean moment for you?

Once you identify that, make sure you make that the focus of your marketing (and strategy). Why? Because, ”Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.“

To your accelerated success!

P.S. Twenty minutes after (originally) posting this, I received an email from Apple with the following image at the top. Notice the key word.

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2 Responses to “Focus Your Marketing (and Strategy) More on New Than on Better”

  1. Shailendra Bisht 29 May 2011 at 6:54 am #

    I don’t agree on this point, This is temporary fix which any company can adopt to accelerate their business. But what more important is quality of product you have introduced in marked. If customer’s are not happy with your existing product you will loose your good will soon and due to better quality product from competitors will be out of market. Every company must watch closely what they offering and make sure that it meet’s people expectation. performance of People and product always counts and make the difference.
    Shailendra Bisht

  2. Bruce Johnson 29 May 2011 at 8:41 am #


    Thanks for your comment. However, I think you’ve missed the point. I would never argue that someone should distribute non-quality products or services. In fact, if you read other posts on this site, you’ll see a massive number of posts on remarkability, excellence and quality. This was a post on strategy. It was arguing that rather than focusing on how do we make a product 10% better (where we’re trying to eek out a little bit of difference between our product and our competitors), we should focus more attention on how can we create something radically different or completely new. That is anything but a temporary fix and it in no way implies offering sub-quality products or services to the world. That is something I would be totally against (and where the two of us would agree).

    Hope that helps clarify my point.


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