Marketing something better is very different to marketing something new.
The advantage of marketing something better is that you already have a benchmark for comparison. The challenge is convincing people to switch from their chosen incumbent, which comes with a lot of emotional baggage because we’re hardwired to preserve the status quo (even at the cost of logical gains).
The advantage of marketing something new is that you have no competition. The challenge is convincing people to trust something when they have no benchmark or frame of reference.
If you’re marketing something better:
1. Make sure your market cares
People pay for benefits, not features. “Better” is a feature, because something can be objectively superior without creating more subjective value. A casual gardener looking for an affordable way to dig a few holes won’t care about a spade with a reinforced handle or ergonomic design.
2. Highlight the cost of inferiority
Even if something is objectively superior and subjectively more valuable, focusing exclusively on the benefits may not be enough to offset the loss avoidance triggered by actual and perceived substitution costs. Highlighting the cost of sticking to an inferior solution can tip the scales in your favour.
If you’re marketing something new:
1. Target the right market
The market for “new” is generally much smaller than the one for “better”. Don’t conflate the two. A mass market approach is likely to be expensive and futile. Seek out early adopters who abhor mainstream conformity, relish adventure, or take smug satisfaction in being first.
2. Provide a frame of reference
You can’t compare something new to established alternatives, because there aren’t any. But you can still compare it to analogous incumbents, or contrast the expected outcomes with present circumstances.
Either way, give your customers a familiar frame of reference. People may buy something that they haven’t bought before, but they’re not going to buy something that they don’t understand.