7 Terrible Marketing Terms To Avoid
Posted on April 15, 2011
The information age is one of high definition, instant access, multimedia and infographics. But there’s one undisputed axiom of marketing that still holds true. Words sell.
The words you choose ultimately determine your marketing success. Whether those words are written, spoken or displayed graphically, choosing words carefully will determine the ultimate success of any marketing campaign.
Marketers fall into traps of using the same old words and catch phrases to describe everything. The hottest words are usually the ones you should avoid. My best sales campaigns are the ones that convey a complex idea in simple language. Some marketers take this too far. Simple language becomes useless language when your words are ambiguous or generic.
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Here are some terrible marketing words and phrases that you’ve probably used in the past:
Amazing, Ultimate, Awesome etc.
These words have lost meaning lately because of overuse. When was the last time you were actually amazed by a product? I remember the first time I saw a Macintosh computer. It was amazing, but that was in 1984. The iPod and Kindle amazed me when they debuted. Being awestruck thrice in three decades means you need to say more than “Amazing” to convince me. Finally, I have no idea what “ultimate” means anymore. A product is only “ultimate” for a couple of months in today’s market.
Everyone claims to have a solution, even if they haven’t bothered to identify the problem. If you’re going to talk about a solution, first described the problem it solves, then the solution in detail. In business-to-business sales companies don’t want solutions as much as they want systems, processes, expertise, and access to information. Ultimately these things lead to a real solution.
Getting results is great, but get specific. “Our sales strategies get results” is a softball phrase, while “using our sales techniques you can expect to boost sales 10 to 30%” is a firm statement. Better yet, “our customers averaged 17.8% increased sales within six months.”
Everyone touts their quality. There isn’t a website on the planet that says “our product is mediocre, but cheap” but this might be refreshing. Quality is important, don’t get me wrong, but today’s consumers are discerning. If you’re going to talk about quality make sure you can demonstrate it. Focus on quantifiable measurement. Think of the “quality” automobiles on the market today. How many safety stars? How many awards? How much resale value? Generally people know what makes a car good quality but successful marketing today requires quantifiable quality.
Companies offer to satisfy our needs every day, but they seldom identify what needs they satisfy. According to Maslow, there are only five basic categories of need: basic survival, safety and security, love and belongingness, respect and admiration, and self-actualization. Demonstrate how your product fills one of those five needs. Remember, those needs are hierarchical, so your target audience must be at the specific need level to react.
There can only be one #1, yet it seems like every company claims to be #1. It’s great to be the best at what you do, but again, focus on objectively explaining why you’re the best. A competitor in my industry prints a newsletter monthly. They have 700 subscribers, but print 25,000 copies to give away at trade shows. My newsletter, a biweekly e-mail newsletter, has 9500 opt-in subscribers, and 1800 of them open it within 24 hours. So which newsletter would you call #1?
We are past the days where we want turnkey solutions. One-size-fits-all is no longer appealing. Systems, processes, and customization are far more in demand even in direct-to-consumer products.
Copywriters have a tendency to use words that sound good, but don’t really sell anything. Your customers are skeptical. When you use over-the-top words in your marketing copy, it can increase skepticism.
Your customer base is getting more intelligent daily. They can handle the truth. They don’t need to be amazed, they simply need clear information about your products and services. Describe customer needs, demonstrate your benefits, or prove results and you will sell anything you put in front of the right audience.
What are some other marketing terms to avoid?