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Should I name our competitor in our features comparison table, or does this just amount to free pub?

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?

UPDATE:

Thank you all for the excellent feedback. Here's how I've decided to handle this issue:

I already have an excellent "Exclusive Features" section listing our exclusive features. That will stay. However, I will not use the comparison table on my main site, but rather, will create a separate landing page for each competitor. I will use a comparison table but, only compare my product/service to theirs, no one else. I will only list a few of the features which are indisputably in our favor, and will monitor each competitor for updates on a weekly basis.

I will then create a PPC campaign for with ad groups, ads and keywords which only target each competitors name, then point the ads to the corresponding landing page.

This will ensure that the only ones who see the comparison to the competitors are those who already knew of them, and were in fact, searching for them by name.

I will also look into having a 3rd party independently review us both and publish their review to which I will link.

Thanks again.

35 Replies

Jake Carlson
2
1
Jake Carlson Entrepreneur • Advisor
Software Development Manager at Oracle
Putting the names of your actual competitors is a double-edged sword. I would only do it if you compare very favorably andcan stay current on the status of their features. You definitely don't want that feature comparison table to be misleading. I assume if your product is new that you won't have the mindshare / search engine ranking, so it's likely that potential customers will have seen / be aware of your competitors before you, so I don't see that you have a lot to lose in the sense of accidentally referring prospects to competitors.
Rob Enderle
5
1
Rob Enderle Advisor
Owner, Enderle Group

Doing comparisons is hard to do well. Ideally you want to use an independent third party as the source, one that would be hard for the competitor to disparage (a large customer for instance). Second if they are larger than you, listing them makes it look like you are in their league. But the same is true of weaker competitors so you list a bigger one you don't list a weaker one and instead supply sales with whatever information showcases that you are better. If you are dominant you don't even acknowledge you have competitors and simply compare your new products to your old ones favorably here too sales is given tools that showcase why the smaller firm can't be trusted to execute. There is some danger in this last because your executives may begin to believe this to be true and eventually become blindsided by a firm that is good enough to get around your defenses. This suggests that regardless of the FUD you are generating you also make sure decision makers inside the company are aware of the real risk the smaller competitor represents. Not doing this was largely why IBM went from owning over 90% of the enterprise storage business to being almost completely forced out of it.

Suzanne Shifflet
3
1
Suzanne Shifflet Entrepreneur
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer
I think it adds credibility to your data to disclose the name. Make sure that you are confident that the table can't be refuted!
Mark L. Rosenberg
3
0
Mark L. Rosenberg Entrepreneur
Tax, securities and commercial litigation
I am a former FTC prosecutor, so I have worked with advertising law for many years. If you name your competitors, that is generally fine under advertising law, as long as there is no misrepresentation of their products or prices. Just make sure that you properly identify any trademarks that they use in their products. Feel free to call me at [removed to protect privacy] if you have any questions that I can assist you with. Thanks.
Tom Cunniff
1
1
Tom Cunniff Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy
Agree with Jake: do it, but make sure you're doing it the right way.

Especially if you're in a niche, everyone will know who "others" are anyway.

Name your competitors, don't be defensive about price (you aren't "higher cost" , you are "higher value"), and work to define the playing field in a way that benefits you without denigrating your competitors. For example, maybe position competitor X as ideal for smaller customers who need less features and you as ideal for larger customers. Or maybe you are better for some reason for the highest-value customers in the business. Obviously, do this in a way that is true, evidence-based, and defensible. Hope this helps.
Andrew Bailey (Pricing, Negotiating specialist)
0
0
Consultant | Mentor | Coach | Author | Speaker | NED helping people earn the profit they deserve for their expertise
If your product offering is vastly superior with better features, and you can show the customer not only the value they will get from your product but the differential and higher value vs. competitors you could simply let them work it our for themselves by comparing to other alternatives and not mention competitors. They have a choice between your product at higher value and higher price and an inferior product, ask them if that's what they want to do and the answer will be clear.
Irwin Stein
0
0
Irwin Stein Advisor
Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.
Mr. Enderle is right. Comparisons are hard to do well. Many companies use a third party to support a comparison which is what I would recommend. If it is really a small, niche market then customers are likely to know who the "other guys" are. Best comparisons take info. from competitors published specs. but don't be surprised if you hear from their lawyers, no matte what yoiu do.
David Pariseau
0
0
David Pariseau Entrepreneur
CTO and CoFounder at Particles Plus
If you competitor has the lion's share of the market (or the lion's share of the market you are targeting) and you're a relative unknown then it's imperative that you find a way to position yourself against them so that prospective buyers who are planning on buying the competitive product have a clear idea that your solution is a direct alternative to the product they are considering purchasing and that in addition that it compares favorably or offers some additional benefits to the competitive product. There are a number of ways to do that, a comparison table is one such and if done well can be useful, but it is likely to be only one tool in making that sale. Tables don't have the space to explain the benefits or convert those benefits into ROI figures or use cases etc. You also typically don't want to compare to smaller players in your market that might be unknown to some of your users (since the little guys are often all competing for market share from the larger player) and even if the other players don't compare that favorably they may well outsell you to a particular prospective client. So, I would suggest you choose one or two of the larger players who are widely known and compare to those products and use that as just one arrow in your quiver during the sales process.
Marc Rowen
0
0
Marc Rowen Advisor
Founder & CEO at SquadFusion
Regarding your concern about free publicity and without knowing the specifics of your situation, my guess is unless you are embarking on an extensive/expensive marketing campaign, you won't need to worry too much about them getting publicity from your comparison table.
Frank Watson
0
0
Frank Watson Advisor
Co Founder at Kangamurra Media
If you have all of their features plus then you are not losing out - and if bigger or just better known for the product than you then no loss - as has been mentioned not smart to do it for a smaller competitor as you give them recognition
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