NY SBDC Research Network: 07/01/2019

Google the term “magic advertising words” and you’ll instantly get over 8 million results. But caveat emptor — don’t buy into all you read, because your prospective buyer certainly won’t. From enough time marketing began, there has never been a shortage of self-appointed experts who state to have determined what that will uncover your customer’wallets. In the Internet age their advice is easier to come by even.

They promise that words such as “you,” “guarantee,” “easy,” “limited-time,” and the old standby, “free,” will generate surefire results. If only it were that simple. As a smart businessperson, you almost certainly know that there are no such things as magic words, especially in a culture that is saturated with advertising.

But there’s another thing you have to know: Not merely do magic advertising words not exist, several of them work against you truly. And chances are, you’re using at least one of these in your advertising now. This can be the most overused word in advertising, which is the principal reason you should stay from it away.

What exactly does “quality” mean? Within a Lexus, it could indicate handcrafted finishes, supple seats, or a clean ride. In a Hyundai, it’s more about the extended warranty than anything. The main point is this: every product well worth buying is a quality product. It might be a high-priced quality, or it could be a low-priced quality, but it’s quality either way. That means every company thinks it may use the word “quality” in its advertising. Many have Too, and as a complete effect, it is becoming just seven vacant words now. Like quality, value has been ruined by overuse. Go back to the Lexus and the Hyundai examples — which car is the less expensive?

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It depends — on the buyer, on the purchase occasion, and on what features and benefits value is being judged. Both vehicles are good values depending on the purchase context. Or take another industry, retail: Wal-Mart provides value, but so does Tiffany. Value, like quality, is within the eye of the beholder, and every goods and services have its value formula. Saying “we provide the best value” is, therefore, virtually meaningless. Have you heard an ad guaranteeing lousy service ever? Obviously not, which is why claiming good service just falls on deaf ears.

It’s funny, but the companies that produce the state of good service the most have a tendency to be those that deliver it minimal. Of course, most organizations do have sincere motives to provide excellent service and commonly cite Nordstrom as the example to that they aspire. But Nordstrom is Nordstrom for a reason — the business’s whole culture and identification are built throughout the service concept.

Nordstrom is the exemption, most companies can’t make it happen from here, and guaranteeing great service won’t make it happen. Do you really believe your business cares more about your visitors than your competition does? It might feel good to state so, however the claim flies in the real face of common sense.