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Measuring Up

Side-by-side comparison ads can persuade prospects to buy in the blink of an eye.

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This story appears in the December 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Dial-up vs. DSL. Oven vs. Microwave. Horse and buggy vs. auto. Whatever the innovation, whenever the era, wherever there's been a clear difference in speed and efficiency, a comparison ad has been all-powerful. Indeed, any demonstrable advantage in convenience and/or effectiveness between your widget and that of your old-school competitors deserves to be on display, front and center.

Recently, a replacement-window salesman came to my house with an eye-opening comparison: He brought in a sample of his company's double-pane window and a sample of my single-pane window. He held them side by side and then put a heat lamp behind one, then the other. He asked me to put my hand in front of each. It was a slam-dunk demonstration of how much better a double-pane window keeps out heat.

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