comparing apples to apples in business

Apples To Apples: Comparing Your Business To The Competition

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

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Most KEXINO clients are either unfamiliar or inexperienced with the whys and wherefores of small business marketing.

But whatever you're selling, and to whomever you're selling it to, one of the most important tenets of marketing one’s business is honesty. Not just in terms of whatever product or service you’re selling, but how your business compares to the competition.

But being honest and truthful is more than just stating the obvious stuff like features, pricing, or returns policies. It’s also about how you describe yourself without resorting to corporate rhetoric and marketing hyperbole about how great you think you are. In other words none of the usual "We are the best at what we do…", "industry-leading innovation…", "we are global leaders in…" nonsense. The reasoning is simple: Prospective clients are smart. Prospects know what's what.

Business Honesty Is The Best Policy

Today's business climate means your future customers have the ability to access information about just about anything, simply and quickly. You can't hoodwink prospects, as they'll find out the truth sooner or later. When they do, woe betide the business owner that thought having one over their customers was a sound and scalable business strategy.

Yes, being honest means showing vulnerability. It’s showing your company warts'n'all and admitting that, now and again, things don’t go the way they were meant to. But you know what? That’s absolutely fine.

Because by being open and realistic, it also means that you're being honest about what makes you better and different when compared to your competition. It's part of the relationship that you're trying to build with your customer. Just like any relationship, the relationship between a vendor and customer isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Now and again things go wrong. Admitting to it, and showing how you and/or your team deal with it, is a differentiation factor that helps your audience decide. It’s not that you screw-up occasionally – we all do that. It’s about organizations deal with the screw-up is what separates the gold from the mud.

Making Business Comparisons – Before Your Customers Do

But it’s not just about screw-ups. It’s about helping your customer decide, even to the point of highlighting and outlining how your product or service stands-up against similar offerings from the competition.

If your product or service really is better than the other guy's, then prove it. Show a fair and balanced comparison of your offering against that of your competition. Not a skewed comparison table where you check all the boxes while your competition have none; but a real guide to help your audience decide. The good stuff as well as the bad stuff. Trust your customers to make an educated decision based on the information you've given.

Why should you bother to do this? Because your customers are going to do it anyway. Thinking they won’t means you’re living in cloud-cookoo land. Excluding commodities, have you ever bought anything of value without having first compared it to whatever else is out there? Then why on earth would you think your customers would be any different? Assuming they’ve believe anything and everything you say is naïve at best, and insulting at worst.

If you don't help make that comparison for your prospects, don't be surprised when that make that comparison on their own. Perhaps with with information they’ve found that doesn't show your offering in as good a light as it could.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha is CEO and founder of KEXINO. He's been a marketer since the days of 56K modems, lectures on marketing and behavioral economics at a European business school, and was noted as one of the top 100 global business influencers by (those wonderful people who make financial software).

Originally from London, today Gee lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son.

Find out more about Gee at Follow him on Twitter at KEXINO, on Facebook at, or on LinkedIn at


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