The Leading Fill in the Blank

Perhaps no phrase in modern marketing communications is more used and more maligned at the same time than “the leading company in insert=market-here”. Everyone uses it and everyone snickers at it… so why?

I was thinking about this the other day as I ¬†was writing some draft copy for a marcom piece and it struck me that this is such a natural way to open the lead paragraph while still leaving open the window for describing what it is that we do and why we’re better/different. Let’s take a look at the reason why it is there in the first place.

If you consider the use of this phrase you realize that it’s there for 2 very explicit reasons. The first is to stake your market very clearly to establish a line in the sand which separates you from every other vendors. Some companies will say “a leading vendor” but the majority say “the leading vendor” as if there is just one leader and it’s beyond debate.

The second reason, and ultimately the more important one, is that you are stating that your company is influential. What is influence? Ultimately influence is about being recognized as a leader that others compare themselves against, and in the technology business leadership is fleeting but influence is durable so vying for influence is a big reason why companies invest in outbound marketing altogether.

I will make an effort to not say say we are the leading vendor for anything, instead we’ll let the market decide who is the leader… but I can’t make any promises about those silly logo slides that companies use to suggest that they are substantial as a consequence of all the big name companies who use their products. One battle at a time…