A slice of pizza with text that says World's Best Pizza

Many neighborhood pizza joints have a sign in the window proclaiming: “World’s Best Pizza”. Although one of them might be right, there are so many would-be candidates that connoisseurs can be forgiven for feeling a bit of skepticism.

It’s the same in B2B. While many companies like to say their product or service is “the best”, customers want — and need — proof. True industry leaders distinguish themselves from the rest by backing up their bids to be number one. The logic is simple: if everyone’s claiming to be top dog, credibility is key to outperforming all the other “besties” out there.

Specifics Are the “Secret Sauce”

B2B marketing often takes a “better mousetrap” approach that focuses on why a given offering outperforms the competition. There’s a notion that if a case can be made for a solution using cold logic, devoid of emotional influences, the world will beat a path to your door. We’ll dispute the role of emotion another time (research suggests it’s just as important as in B2C, but let that pass for now). Yet even if we take the traditional B2B stance that side-by-side comparison is where it’s at, a surprising number of organizations seem reluctant to share details that give their claims substance.

Consider the following three statements:

  1. “The Pizzatastica CLVR™ slices pizza faster.”
  2. “The Pizzatastica CLVR™ slices pizza up to five times faster than the average pizzeria team member.”
  3. “The Pizzatastica CLVR™ slices up to five times faster than any other pizza automation solution currently on the market. The unit typically reduces delivery times by as much as 20% within four weeks of installation while virtually eliminating mis-sliced waste, potentially saving owners as much as $50,000 per pizzeria per year.”

If you were in the market for an automated pizza-slicing solution, I’m guessing version 3 would be most likely to attract your interest. Even though it wouldn’t make a great sound bite, this copy will outperform the other examples for two reasons.

First, version 3 is loaded with specifics. The seller’s willingness to share hard numbers implies they know their product inside and out and have tested it thoroughly. It suggests they’re confident in the value it delivers, that it can go toe-to-toe with the competition, that other pizzerias are already using it successfully, and that you’ll enjoy benefits similar to those satisfied customers.

Second, the copy isn’t just a list of statistics. In addition to lending credibility, the details are linked with positive outcomes your own pizzeria is likely to care about: faster delivery, less waste and lower costs. The value of this will depend on how well the company knows their customers. Specifics are good, but details that target your customers’ biggest challenges are better.

Overcoming the Deep Dish of Dread

If hard numbers lend so much weight, why don’t more organizations take advantage of them? The answer is usually fear. As a result, self-censorship is the most common cause of lackluster B2B marketing copy. But whether you’re afraid of your boss’ opinion, your legal department or your ability to deliver on implied promises, there’s something even bigger to be afraid of: competitors who aren’t afraid to support their claims.

One of the most effective ways to push through these objections is to document the facts behind any bold or specific statement you put in your marketing copy, at least internally. Even if you don’t publish the source of your data, having an internal record of where it comes from will help persuade your stakeholders (and perhaps yourself) to let you run with it.

Many different sources can be mined for confirmation, including your own organization’s research and testing, surveys, third-party comparisons and reviews, customer experiences, and more.

The Proof Is in the Taste

When a third party makes positive claims about your offering, you get an immediate credibility boost — especially if they’ve spent money on it. It’s also a lot easier to get internal stakeholders and legal teams to sign off on a happy customer’s rave reviews.

Client testimonials are among the best promotional boosts you can get. They’re also the most challenging to secure because B2B organizations tend to be cagey about which solutions they’re using and how. Savvy public relations (PR) efforts offer another avenue that’s worth cultivating for buzz and goodwill. You’re less likely to get a “yeah, whatever” reaction when someone else talks about how great your pizza tastes, even if they duplicate copy written by your own team, word for word.

Case studies and success stories present the best of both worlds because they detail ultra-specific resolutions of real-world problems. Citing names still gives you the biggest impact, especially if the client is a well-known or respected organization. And even if a client doesn’t want to go on the record, you might still be able to use good material by referring to them in generic terms (e.g., “a major North American pizza chain”).

Demand for Hawaiian Pizza Had to Start Somewhere

What if your offering is so new that it doesn’t have an established customer base yet? You still don’t have to settle for vague claims. Look for data from your R&D process, internal testing, simulations, emulations, customer pilots and anywhere else you can find it. Feeling confident? Set up a side-by-side demonstration of your product battling it out against “Brand X” (remember the Pepsi Challenge?). 

You can also create a hypothetical case study to demonstrate what’s possible: “In a typical restaurant, the Pizzatastica CLVR™ can free up 1.37 workers to make deliveries or clean the dine-in area.” The key is to keep the focus on specific data. It also helps to remember that the best marketing doesn’t sell the offering itself; it highlights the positive customer experience that results.

Extra Toppings

  • Innovation isn’t just for your engineering team Keep your message fresh with new offerings and variations on your core messaging.
  • Know what your customers really want Positioning your operation as the world leader in anchovy processing will only get you so far if the market is craving more meat lovers’ solutions.
  • Know the competition Of course you’re the best (we believe you). But try the pizza place across the street, be honest with yourself about what they do well, and leverage those insights to help your operation make more dough.