When Lee Sherman ran marketing content at Mint, he crossed a line most organizations won’t dare to. He mentioned a competitor.
Oh, no! It’s one thing for a boss to say “you build trust by showing trust.” That sure sounds good coming from a glossy inflight magazine. But trying it takes guts. Often, a watered down “trust” creeps in, which tells customers that we don’t respect your nose for bullshit and unanswered questions.
“You have to assume they’re smart,” Lee says. “Give all the info without bias… When we didn’t, it was obvious we were doing that, which was bad writing. It was clear something was missing.”
Everyone knows there are competitors, and many prospective customers can even tell each one’s story. For some, Mint’s features and marketing story would work best. Let the others go.
“Companies need to get away from idea they’re going to provide every solution,” he said. “Not even Apple, Microsoft, or Google can do that. ”
Ultimately, this strategy worked. How could he tell? For one thing, the comments showed that people had actually read the blog post. He could also see that it made them think; they argued with others about the product.
The process has its risks, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.