Not My Competition

The English language is often directional. Mess that direction up and you won’t make sense.

What do I mean?

English is full of terms that apply to you, but not to others. Terms that describe unique connections of relationship.

For example, if your parents have siblings, what do you call those people?

They’re your Aunts and Uncles.

What do your parents call their siblings? Not Aunt and Uncle, but sister and brother.

We completely understand the concept and direction of familial nouns. And yet, you’ll find many small business owners and copy writers using terms in their ads that apply only to them, and not to their customers.

For example, the other businesses in your category are your competition.

But they’re not your customer’s competition. To your customer they’re the other options.

Recently I saw an ad that said, “We’re faster than the competition.”

As a customer I’m subconsciously thinking, “You’re faster than who? The ‘competition’? Not my competition.”

Let’s just set aside the terrible idea of making unsubstantiated claims, and take this ad concept at face value. Wouldn’t it be better to phrase it from the view point of the customer? At the very least, couldn’t we say, “We’re your fastest option?” Or, “We’ll take care of you faster than anyone else?”

You get the point.

English is full of terms that apply to you, but not to your customers. Don’t forget to write things from their perspective.

Assuming, that is, you’d like to make sense.

 – Zac Smith, VC