Cartoonist and best-selling author Hugh MacLeod said, “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.”
I think he had marketing clichés in mind.
It doesn’t matter if someone is reading, viewing or listening to your marketing, or having a conversation with you or one of your employees. One of the best ways to lose a potential customer’s interest is by using clichés.
People have heard the average cliché thousands of times before they heard you say it, so your message is quickly transformed to “blah blah blah”. The perception that businesses or marketers create by using marketing clichés is that they can’t come up with real reasons why someone should do business with them. In today’s marketplace, people are too savvy and have access to too much information to be influenced by empty clichés. For a large segment of your target audience, these clichés probably insult their intelligence and make them think you’ve wasted their time.
I’ve compiled a list of the 10 Worst Marketing Clichés that I still see and hear every day from both local and national brands. After each cliché, I’ve shared what I will typically say to myself when I hear one of these gems (right after I cringe).
10. One stop shop. If the totality of your products or services makes your company the best choice, tell me why instead of using this tired cliché that makes me think of a general store. Just remember, there’s a specialist for everything these days, so this claim can actually be a negative in many industries. You know what they say when you try to be everything to everybody.
9. _____ is right around the corner. So is a car wreck. This cliché has the same effect on your marketing. Instead of reminding me about an impending season or holiday in the form of an excruciatingly stale cliché, tell me why your product or service is so important to me at that time of year.
8. Sale ends soon/For a limited time. If you really want to create a sense of urgency, tell me the exact day and time that your offer expires.
7. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Really? I thought you would say that your employees are a bunch of jerks and morons.
6. Highest quality. Even if you have the highest quality product or service, just saying it doesn’t make it so. Prove how and why your product or service is better than everyone else’s and talk about what’s most relevant to me, not you.
5. Lowest prices. I’ve already written about the dangers of selling based on price, but if price really is your strongest selling point, prove it with specifics or I won’t believe you.
4. Conveniently located. Just tell me where you are. Chances are it won’t be convenient for everyone, and I’m going to research your business online before I take the time to visit you anyway. Why? Because the internet is more convenient.
3. Best service. What is it about your service that’s better than your competition’s service? If you can’t answer that question with specifics in a way that’s relevant to me, it’s not a selling point.
2. We are a full-service ____. That’s a relief. I thought you were one of those half-service outfits. This cliché is almost as common today as the number one cliché in our countdown…
1. For all your ____ needs. I dishonored this horrible cliché with the top spot because it’s probably used more often in 2011 than any other marketing cliché. If you ever use a phrase that can be used by every other business on the face of the earth when you simply fill in the blank with a different word, you should come up with a more compelling way to make that point.
What marketing clichés make you cringe?
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From the desk of, free report reveals, sale extended because our servers crashed, “you’ll want to” anything, weird tricks, any group “hates” anybody, shocking video of anything, 28 year old millionaire reveals anything…
All perfectly cliché! Lately there’s the one that says something like “She picks up a leaf of the driveway. What she does next will amaze you.” I guess they get attention, what can you do.
Today I learned that my baguette was made with “world class flour”. So on a hunch I put down the bag and visited the baker’s web site. There the reader is informed that the “state of the art” production facility is not only “all-new” but also “environmentally friendly”. They do make a fine baguette, however, even if it is slightly overpriced and larded with chichés before you get it out of the bag.
I bet you pay a little bit extra per cliché 🙂
Marcom is free, but not like free in “free beer”.