Why is it so much corporate writing sounds like it comes from a car salesperson? There is too much emphasis on selling, convincing and buzzwords.
Here is a made-up example:
“Our cupholders are ergonomically designed to facilitate a streamlined, secure and reliable beverage experience to maximize enjoyment and avoid the possibility of a catastrophic spillage incident.”
Unfortunately, many of the responses I receive from marketing and PR contacts sound like this. The originator is too intent on convincing me of the value of something to be able to write well. If I ask for a brief description of features, what I receive is either sell, sell, sell, or long-winded promotional passages copied from a brochure.
What bugs me is that they are not properly answering my questions and rarely seem to pay attention to WHO is asking them. I want to be addressed as an individual and be answered according to the needs of my readers. Sadly, it doesn’t happen often. A magazine I edit has a very clear policy of deleting marketing verbiage and being minimalistic in its use of modifiers. Two minutes on the website would tell anyone that. Yet in come responses filled with buzzwords like highly reliable, highly available, advanced, comprehensive, forward-looking, revolutionary and paradigm-shifting. None of these words ever make it into print. But the modifier invasion is unrelenting.
Let me distill a recent example. The company name and product have been omitted to protect the guilty.
Transformational technology provides a reliable, risk-free environment to test operational strategies that reduce overall costs while increasing safety, reliability and availability. Mobile deployment enables on-demand monitoring from the palm of your hand, virtually anywhere. Our comprehensive solutions safeguard our customers’ assets and strengthen their security posture. Our forward-looking and adaptable cybersecurity programs mitigate risk and maintain reliable operation by proactively addressing threats, enhancing protection and streamlining security program management. With more digitalized operations and better data across the enterprise, organizations can use digital intelligence throughout their workforce, driving change and creating new efficiencies.
Its biggest problem: It doesn’t communicate anything.
There might possibly have been a somewhat sensible message buried in there once upon a time. But the end result becomes inedible when marketing massages the sentences, adds search engine optimization terms and makes it comply with branding policies before sending it through various corporate approval hoops.
So, marketing and PR folks: If you are writing blogs, papers or articles, stop trying to convince readers they should buy something. Your goal should be to clearly communicate your primary message. Leave the sales side for brochures and marketing collateral. Try not to have your copy sound like it comes from a scripted corporate spokesperson, washed clean of controversy and meaning. Dial back the buzzwords. And most of all – communicate.