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They were once so effective, so strong – so in. We’re talking about marketing words and phrases that have now gone beyond their shelf life, and should never be used in your marketing plan.

It’s a sizable list and some are so common you may not even know you’re using them. But with a little discipline and practice, you can chop them out of your marketing efforts completely (or at least until they possibly come in fashion again).

Here are just some of those no-no marketing words, in no particular order.

 

1. Customer-focused

Customer Service

Source: Flickr, Richard Roberson

Wait a second. Shouldn’t your marketing efforts always be focused on the customer Instead, tell the customer why you go above and beyond your competitors. Highlight your brand in a way that says you’re customer-focused without being so obvious about it.

The way to avoid this empty phrase is to know exactly what matters to your customer, state how you provide that and point out the benefit or the payoff to your customer.

Here’s an example from Digital Marketer Labs (I just love them)

digitalmktr

 

They don’t have to SAY they are customer focused — they SHOW they are customer focused by making sure that everything they sell is exactly what their customers WANT — and not just the products or services, but the RESULTS.

This isn’t as impossible as it seems. Just make a list of things your customers say they WANT. You can do this on an index card, sticky note or in a word document. Brainstorm a list of results or outcomes they want. Then attach the feature of the product or service that delivers on that.

 

2. Unique

Orange!
Everyone considers their brand to be unique. Break open a thesaurus and come up with a, well, more unique adjective. Unique sounds good but describes nothing.

The way to prove that you are UNIQUE is to do some serious competitive intelligence. One of my favorite books on this subject is “Creating Competitive Advantage” by ?Jaynie L. Smith. You can also pick up the classic “Competitive Advantage” by Michael Porter. Both of these books will give out insight into how to collect this information and how to highlight what sets you apart.

For a quick guideline — Check out these 5 Questions that will help you structure a killer marketing message.

3. Best in Classrex

 

First, who defines your class? And who decided you were the best in it? You truly may be that remarkable but prove it by describing your accomplishments, awards, etc. Remember, customers don’t necessarily need best in class, they need what’s best for them.

The way to get around this empty phrase is to identify exactly where you stand in a specific market or industry and then flaunt it. Find the one thing that you are the best at, define the criteria, show the comparison and flaunt it.

Look at Rex Parker — he doesn’t say that he’s “Best in Class” in crossword puzzles. he very specifically states that he is 9th!?

4. Experienced

old man grumbling ...
Just because a company has a lot of experience doesn’t mean it’s more effective than others with less. Show what effect your company has had on the industry, and the stability you’ve had on the market.

The best way to feature experience is by featuring very specific problems that you’ve solved for customers. Again, show that you’ve seen just about every problem out there and you’ve solved it.

You can also have a little fun with this by selecting some really unique problems and how you’ve solved them. Interview customers, take pictures of products or services gone bad or show before and after pictures. That proves that you have experience.

5. Generally

London - No entry for general pubic sign
‘Generally’ is too non-committal. Being so ambiguous doesn’t give the impression of reliable text. Nothing sells like specificity. I always like to say that when you’re talking to everyone, you’re reaching no one.

Identify some very specific situations where your product or service shines. Show demonstrations. Give examples. The more selective you are about who you are selling to and what problems you are solving, the more of those ideal customers will come to you.

6. Expert

TrackHead Studios - Bull Shit Experts

 

The old adage says that if you have to say you are, then you’re probably not. Show your expertise to customers and let them evaluate if it’s enough to suit their needs.

The best way to prove your expertise is to show specific data and results.

paypal

 

7. Revolutionary

day 357 - as seen on tv

Popular a couple of decades ago, this adjective was used to describe even the slightest company or product improvement. It’s one thing if your company completely changed the way of thinking in your field. If not, then it’s just not revolutionary.

Data and competitive intelligence are your friend. Identify exactly what the standard or current performance is and then show exactly how you are revolutionary.

For some guidance, read “Blue Ocean Strategy” it’s been updated several times and it will show you exactly how to engineer revolutionary and then build a competitive advantage around it.

8. Value-added

Got a Direction for a Super Value

What does this really mean? It implies that the customer will get something for very little or incremental cost. But it’s not really value-added – it’s just part of the overall deal.

A great way to prove the value-added component of your offer is to add bonuses to your product or service. Then be sure to show your customers what to value of that bonus is. It’s the “But wait — there’s MORE!” offer.

 

9. Exceptional ROI

trophy

Everyone loves a great return on investment, but unless you have access to the customer’s numbers you can’t really calculate their ROI. So, your estimates are either theoretical or based on another customer’s results. Just show the costs without hiding anything, and let the customer calculate their own ROI.

The best way to show and ROI is to “Dollarize” your offer. This means to make a list of all the elements and characteristics of your offer and show exactly how much each of those is worth.

For example, say that it takes 2 hours to manually complete a task at a cost of $100 per hour. If you have a tool that saves me 2 hours of work, then you’ve saved me $200. If you’re selling this product for $47, then this isagreat return on investment

10. Unbelievable

Unicorn
As in, unbelievable prices. Are they really ‘unbelievable,’ or just lower? This is a spammy sales word that is used far too much.

I hope you had fun with this today- and I hope it’s inspired you to find just the right word for what you are truly offering.