Clarity Attacks Buzzwordsmithiness On Contact


A good friend of mine for many years is Steve Woodruff, a self-proclaimed (and very talented) Clarity Consultant, continues to share some rather ridiculous marketing-speak amongst websites and social media profiles. He shared his all-time favorite with me from a couple of years ago:

We have pioneered a new model for sustainable, consumer-driven growth based on principles of complex adaptive systems. This is a new premise for strategy for a world undergoing deep structural change: different assumptions about creating value, different path to market and business development, a different frame of reference to see and think. Ecosystems are the new basis of competition. The companies that know how to position and manage themselves as platforms for self-organization can make Google-like growth almost template driven.

What does that even mean? So many words and I don’t have a clue.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and yesterday my other good friend, Mark Schaefer, was the catalyst. Mark shared the trademarked Palmolive byline, Attacks Grease on Contact.

Hence the name of this post… I hope Mark doesn’t mind that I stole the idea from his Facebook post. Oh, and it should be duly noted that Mark’s domain is… does it get any clearer than that?

Steve’s social sharing has been knawing at me for over a year. Our agency website was a collection of common buzzword phraseology that could dazzle the most amazing bullshitter. Every time Steve shared a nonsense phrase from a website, I found myself opening the browser to make sure he didn’t get it from Highbridge!

As a result, I was motivated to fix the home page. I went over in my head why companies continue to use our agency, and it all came down to one thing… we fix what’s broken with their online marketing. But it’s not always one thing… sometimes it’s their branding, sometimes their copy, sometimes their search ranking. As a result, I wrote a nice little script that simply replaces one word in the sentence.

dk new media clarity 2

The new verbiage, articulated with clarity, is:

Your Digital Marketing Is not Driving __________. We fix that.

The terms that we inject are Results, Reputation, Rankings, Visitors, Authority, Leads, Followers, Revenue, Downloads, Engagement, Sign-Ups, ROI, Prospects, Conversions, Readership, Usage, Viewers, Upsells, Fans, Performance, Sales, Retention, Registrations, Profit, Awareness, and Demand.

Of course, I could bloviate about our proven, patent-pending process for increasing the marketing maturity of our clients (true story)… but what does that actually mean? Well, it means that we fix what’s wrong. Within every engagement that we have, that’s the focus of our attention and what we want our clients to focus on as well. We want to ensure that we’re identifying the gaps in their marketing strategies, and helping them to fill those gaps to drive their business forward.

I don’t know that the exercise to get to an articulate, clear statement was about removing or reducing words. That could be an exercise that could help you generate clarity with your own sales and marketing material. I do believe the process I went through was focusing on what we accomplished for our clients rather than focusing on who we were and what we were capable of. Years ago, I wrote about technology companies always marketing features over benefits.

When you’re focused on what you’re capable of rather than what you accomplish for your clients, I think that’s when the wordsmithing goes awry!


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    Marketers in the consumer goods/household category understand that what you are selling must solve people’s problems. Your marketing must define the problem and offer a solution efficiently — usually in less that 5-10 words. For some reason, B2B marketers don’t understand this. And in many cases, the most convoluted marketing messages come from those peddling marketing solutions.

    CEOs and copywriters at marketing firms love grandiose terminology because it makes their work sound so much more profound (and they think they can charge more for it). Honestly, most lack clarity of purpose and don’t have the confidence to make bold promises — e.g., “We will help you solve problem X.”

    If you can’t tell me — in one sentence and in plain English — what you will do for me, my business or my family, then you have a lot of work left to do.

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