A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Words to avoid

Hi all. I’ve been lurking on the Soundings Trade Today site and reading Wanda’s insightful marketing blogs for sometime and thought I’d regularly add my 2¢ to see if we can all benefit more from this section. Especially in light of the fact that we’re all in the same boat, trying to make the best of our advertising resources in light of a low performing marine marketplace. With that said, did you know there are 5 words to avoid using in modern day print ads and collateral material? I’ll spare you the diatribe leading up to the logic and cut right to it. For better copy writing avoid the words Quality, Value, Service, Caring and Integrity. Surprised? I was.

Present day research (provided by Steve McKee Business Week June 06) has shown these words have become meaningless clichés that deliver empty promises and in many cases actually work against the advertiser. Yet I read them with great regularity in magazine ads and brochures. It makes perfect sense.

Savvy marketing execs have always known that a powerful ad message is one where the consumer reaches the right conclusion on his own without being told what to think. So the next time you’re tempted to use one of these five words in an ad or brochure, stop and ask if there’s a better way to get your message across. You may be surprised by the positive reader response.

And to keep this blog from becoming a marketing column, I won’t expound on the individual negative nuances associated with each word. But I’ll be happy to banter any responses back in furtherance of this blog.

Frank Ferraro
Brainstorms Advertising & Marketing


7 comments on “Words to avoid

  1. CarlM

    Sort of reminds me that there are no problems any more. Now they are reffered to as issues. Like the low performing marine market.

  2. Jody Imars, President

    I couldn’t agree more. I was a corporate consultant for years. Quality is a relative term to begin with… Everyone’s idea of what constitutes a quality product or service is subjective. Much of it depends on the customer’s expectations.

    The best advice I can give as a businesswoman with years of consulting experience is this… These are the most misused words in business today. Stick with being honest, truly honest from the heart, and your customers will know it. Treat people how you want to be treated. The bottom line isn’t a number, it’s reputation. KEEP IT SIMPLE.

  3. Bob Harris

    Jody could not have said it any better. Absoluletely right. Words like quality, caring, integrity, etc. are all fluff. Your actions speak for you. Being completely honest, and treating others like you want to be treated is what everyone wants.

    No fluff.

  4. Ralph Brown

    You might add “shallow draft”, and “great fuel economy” to those lists. 90% of the boats seem to list the draft of the hull, empty, and without a motor. How you going to move it?
    Draft should be listed as idle speed operational draft, and planing speed draft. Two different figures, then we ought to make them prove it over rocks. Eventually the truth comes out, but to chase the entry level boater, it is difficult to compete with those who don’t understand the word truth.

  5. Bob Taylor

    I couldn’t agree more. Treating folks like you want to be treated is the basis for building a lasting reputation. Instead of looking at “problems” as “issues”, I like to think of them as opportunities. Opportunities to build customer loyalty, opportunities to make another customer happy with his decision to do business with my company and the opportunity to stand above the majority of dealers and brokers in my area.

  6. Dick Royer

    I got some advice a few years ago that I try to follow. “Treat people as they want to be treated – not necessarily how you want to be treated”.

  7. Frank Ferraro

    Ralph – You’re right. Deceitful messages is a whole another issue that compounds the problem further. Unfortunately in a vertical market like boating, the industry may lose a customer to another leisure market.

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