Friday, August 23, 2013

Say What You Mean

It is so easy to get caught up in your own frilly language that you lose sight of what it is you are actually trying to say. I'm in marketing. I do this all the time. I get PAID to delude people into thinking things are more than they are by throwing superfluous adjectives around them. (see what I did there?) Sadly this bad habit has leeched its way into my creative writing. As I've been going through my latest MS, I've been able to cut five thousand words by taking out the unnecessary. (I wished I had saved an excerpt to show you, but I am on this new kick of deleting without care.) However, I recently came across a marketing report that, in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders of marketing jargon I have ever seen. Let's see what it is they're really trying to tell us....

Marketing Jargon: seamlessly provide differentiated but consistent experiences across all touch points.

Oh yes, they sound very knowledgeable and educated. Look at all those big words! But what the hell does it mean?

English: Make your website and in-store experience similar but unique.
Marketing Jargon: When consumers feel confident that they will be receiving the brand experience they expect, no matter which channel they use to access the brand, then they will feel more loyal to the brand and will be more likely to buy today and in the future.

Whatever you do, don't do this. Your readers shouldn't have to follow you through a maze to figure out what you're trying to tell them. They're likely to get lost.

English: When consumers have a consistent brand experience, they will be more likely to buy.
Marketing Jargon: While showrooming is not a new challenge for retailers, the proliferation of smartphones in recent years has drawn some worrisome holiday forecasts for brick-and-mortar stores.

Look what happens when you make the subject more active. You can actually read it and understand it!

English: Brick-and-mortar stores are worried about smartphones taking sales away.
Of course, creative writing is supposed to creative. We love adjectives and those devilish adverbs! Just use them sparingly, and make sure when you're editing that you mean what you say and say what you mean.

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