Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some Problems with Marketing Language

It drives me crazy the way some phrases get bandied about in the communications world (or elsewhere). I don't believe they contribute to effective strategy or success in your marketing programs; they have been overused to the point of making them meaningless.

"Doing More with Less"--The only way to do more with less is to develop improved skill sets, efficiencies or communications among existing team members when resources are dwindling. This prevents a weakening in your competitiveness and may, in fact, improve it. Client concerns about restructuring or downsizing in your business become irrelevant as the level of service they are used to does not undergo significant change--or improves, if the efficiencies or enhanced skill sets are executed as intended. If, however, your team already has "the right people on the bus", as Jim Collins would have it, it's likely that a loss can deal a real, significant blow. "Doing more with less" could more effectively be articulated to mean 'efficient', 'strategic' and 'results-oriented'. During times when resources that used to be available no longer are, these adjectives (assuming they accurately reflect your business) sound more compelling than one trite phrase and brings value you're offering a client to the forefront of your marketing language.

"Under Promise and Over Deliver"--It's ridiculous to underpromise levels of service in a highly competitive world like today's. If you're out bidding, you won't get the job because someone else "is" promising your business prospect the moon. Never mind if they can deliver. Sure there may be one unhappy client down the line ripe for the picking, but if your philosophy is to underpromise, you won't get the job even then. Not only that, but clients, like other human beings, don't necessarily like surprises. Over delivery sometimes means making assumptions about what a client wants and if you make the wrong assumption, well, that won't make the client happy. You may want to happily surprise a client with additional expertise they weren't expecting...but why not articulate this expertise during the bidding process? Wouldn't that make you more attractive from the get go? Listen to your client to find out what they want, set goals, define a strategy for getting there, and then just do it. It's not dramatic but your client will be back for more.

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