Is your marketing under the weather? Not performing very well? In this guest post, Andy M Turner identifies another serious condition that might be infecting your advertising. A serious condition that is, fortunately, very treatable. A condition known as Over-Inflated Hyperbolic Assertion.
Your marketing materials contain excessive wind. They feature vague, empty, meaningless or unsubstantiated claims. Bombastic, puffy bravado is rampant, with outbreaks of any of the following words or expressions:
- One stop shop
- Best in class
- Customer focussed
Customers don’t trust you, mainly because they’d don’t understand what you’re saying. Even if they do understand, they see no personal relevance because you are not connecting what you sell to anything important in their lives.
You are not alone. Puffery in market communications has been around for at least half a century. It appears to be most prevalent in the information technology sector where even the largest and most successful companies like Microsoft have been infected; witness its recent campaign strap-line – “People Ready Enterprise Solutions”
Take off your usual shoes and put on those of your ideal customer. They will probably appear a little uncomfortable at first and in extreme cases you won’t be able to walk for more than a few faltering steps. Eventually though, you’ll reach the place known as ‘Their Perspective’. From here you should just be able to see in the far off distance back to where you started out. The first thing you’ll notice is how that sunny, rose-tinted environment looks so dull and grey from your new vantage point. But the change of air will be invigorating and soon you’ll begin to see why ‘show and tell’ beats ‘heavy sell’ every time. Your hyperbole should deflate back to a normally acceptable level within weeks.
Customers will start listening again. They will understand who you are and what you offer them. They will see a connection between what you offer and how that provides something valuable, interesting or entertaining just for them. There will be an outbreak of Restored Trust leading to an eventual uplift in general fiscal wellbeing.
By Andy M Turner – Andy is an independent public relations consultant and writer based in France. More of his blogs on the themes of public relations, reputation, business and corporate communications can be found at Six Sigma Public Relations. You can also follow him on Twitter @andymturner
Here is another list of symptoms you can check for, to see if your marketing is infected.
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