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    Thursday
    Jul262012

    Why small business owners are so fond of cliched content

    The classic baseball movie "Bull Durham" features Kevin Costner's minor-league veteran catcher Crash Davis tutoring the young, raw pitching prospect Nuke LaLoosh on the finer points of becoming a big leaguer. While the team is on a rare winning streak, Nook asks Crash to "teach him something new," launching the weary catcher into a lesson on cliche-speak.

    I try and see this wonderful movie at least once a year. So do most baseball fans and, judging from the content they post online, so do most of my customers. If I had to take all the great Crash Davis cliches of marketing and make them into one piece of really awful content, it would read something like this:

    We're a full service firm. Our goal is to become your preferred partner and help you find the solution that meets your needs. We continuously strive to offer the highest possible quality within a framework of professional integrity and incomparable customer service with a spirit of teamwork and participation, combined with knowledge, personal service, and creative design.

    Our philosophy has remained unchanged: deliver a quality product on time.

    Our clients can select from an extensive and diverse inventory at a competitive price.

    And we’ll help you achieve a solution that works for you.

    We have thrived because of our natural attention to detail and an ability to innovate. You can count on quality workmanship, personal service, creative ideas, and competitive pricing.

    Our distinctive network of sales executives are the envy of the industry.

    Their knowledge combined with client oriented service skills enhances customer satisfaction, so we can easily handle all of your needs.

    Let us share our passion with you by offering extraordinary customer service through our team of outstanding employees who share our philosophy.

    Our customer-driven service focuses on integrity and reliability. We’re extremely proud of the many long-term relationships we’ve developed with our customers who have come to depend on us for the highest quality products and superior service.

    No one can match our product quality and outstanding customer service.

    We want to be leader in quality, innovation and service, following our basic values of respect, loyalty, humility and honesty, a commitment to teamwork, communication and a high degree of responsibility always in the best interests of our customers.

    We want to be the best.

    We’re large enough to answer client needs and small enough to maintain personal relationships.

    Call us for a free estimate.

    These cliches are treasured by small business owners. Like Nuke LaLoosh, they study them every day, committing them to memory, using them every chance they get.

    Why do they do it? Well, just like Crash said, your cliches are 'your friends.' They keep you out of trouble. Avoid controversy. Keep expectations low.

    And why not? What business owner wants to write a check they can't cash by promising a potential customer something so specific and concrete? Who wants to be held accountable?

    And that's how the cliches of ad-speak were born. And they worked--for a while, but no more.

    Why are they no longer effective?

    1. Cliches are broad generalizations that prevent differentiation. By their nature, cliches are generalizations so broad they have to be true, but also meaningless. Every business talks about "top quality" and "outstanding service" so they no longer function as useful pieces of information customers can use to make a buying decision.
    2. People don't search for cliches. Google put the final nail in the cliche coffin by allowing customers to search for exactly what they want. They can zero in on finding solutions for their specific problem, bypasing the need for the broad, generalized statements used in ad-speak. As far as Google is concerned, this type of content doesn't exist, because no one types "outstanding service" into a search request.
    3. The winners have abandoned cliches for meaningful content. Go to Amazon's website and see what's NOT there. Not a single word about the company. No cliches or ad-speak of any kind. Why? because Amazon knows its customers are coming to browse and buy stuff. Instead Amazon focuses on what the customer is interested in. It makes suggestions about other complimentary items that might go with what's being purchased. It lets you browse through books like you would in a bookstore and makes it incredibly easy to order. There's no need for Amazon to spend any time at all bragging about itself. The user's experience says everything needed.
    4. Customers don't waste time online. The average person views less than two pages on a website and spends less than two minutes visiting. They're trying to be as efficient as possible, whether making a purchase or doing research. Cliches just get in the way, and since it only takes one click to maneuver around them, the customer evaluates the marketer's message for relevance, literally, in seconds. 

    When Nuke LaLoosh was called up to the big leagues, he filled his first TV interview with all the cliches Crash taught him, a sign he was ready for "the show." No longer needed, Crash was released from the team and retired. While I will always believe Crash's advice when it comes to "the hanging curve ball, high fiber and good scotch," it's now time to 'un-learn your cliches' and make your content big-league ready.

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    Reader Comments (1)

    That is so true.
    marketing lists

    September 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLendar

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