Monopolize Your Marketplace 2 CD Set Continued
The final result?whether institutional or menu-board style?is that platitudes dominate marketing and advertising.
A platitude is words or phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable that lack power to evoke interest through over-use or repetition that nevertheless, are stated as though they were original or significant.
Let me repeat that definition once more: Let it really sink in this time: A platitude is words or phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable that lack power to evoke interest through over-use or repetition that nevertheless, are stated as though they were original or significant.
In advertising, you'll see and hear platitudes all the time; you'll hear things like. Largest selection, most professional, lowest prices, highest quality, best service, fastest, most convenient, largest in the state, more honest, experts in, specializing in, works harder, get the job done right the first time, been in business since 1431 BC, and all that kind of stuff.
I'm not saying you shouldn't be those kinds of things. Those, obviously, are foundations to build your inside reality on, right? So what's the problem? Where's the disconnect? Think about it. If my advertisement says that I have high quality and great service, is that drearily commonplace and predictable? Does it lack power to evoke interest through over-use or repetition? Is it nevertheless stated as though it were original or significant? Does the inside reality?what really makes me good?does that shine through? Can you tell, specifically, what makes me valuable to the marketplace when I say "quality and service?" See, you can't describe, demonstrate, exhibit, reveal, or display your inside reality using platitudes.it's impossible.which results in an outside perception that you're what? That's right: Just like everybody else. No distinction. No separation. No differentiation. None. You just flat-out can't make your inside reality and outside perception match up using platitudes. If you've ever felt like you've got a great business, but that you're the best kept secret in town, chances are extremely high that you're a master of the platitude. In fact, if you've ever run any marketing piece of any kind?ever?chances are it was littered with platitudes. which is exactly why I can verbally assault you without ever having met you and tell you that everything you've ever done in marketing is wrong. If you don't think so, go grab your stuff right now, because I'm going to give you some evaluations here in just a second that will objectively confirm everything I'm saying right now.
I don't know, you tell me? Don't you think that the definition of platitudes describes most marketing and advertising? I mean all marketing, including brochures, websites, signage, on-hold messages, billboards, tradeshow booths, direct mail, and anything and everything else you can think of? I'll extend that to everything you see from network television ads for soft drinks and pickup trucks to the ad in the local fish-wrap newspaper for the corner pizza shop. And I'll extend it to you, regardless of how big or small your company is, or how much experience you have doing this. All marketing is full of words and phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable, that lack power to evoke interest through over-use or repetition, and that nevertheless are stated as though they were original or significant. All ads are full of platitudes, which are a direct result of your growing up in the era of the "brand builders" seeing that stuff all the time and literally, I mean honestly, not knowing any better. Hey, it's hard to know what you don't know. Quick, make a list of everything you're currently not aware of. It's a short list, because you don't know! That's why almost every ad stinks, why almost every brochure is boring, and almost every website is stagnant. Nobody knows any better. Nobody, including you.
Still not sure if you believe me? Let's go over a couple of quick evaluations you can use to see if your marketing advertising gets caught in the platitude trap or not...
Platitude Evaluation #1 is called "Well, I Would Hope So!" When you make a claim, don't think about it in terms of coming out of your mouth....think of it in terms of it entering your prospect's ears. Then you'll realize how ridiculous most platitudinal claims sound. Whenever you say something, ask yourself if the prospect will immediately respond with: "Well, I would hope so!"
A huge printing company gave as their number one reason to choose them over the other sixteen zillion other printers: "We help the non-professional print buyer understand the various options available." Well I would hope so! You're a printer! Isn't that what you do? See.it's a platitude, drearily commonplace. Lacks power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition.
Or try this one from a management training company: "Our training leads to change! And it will increase productivity, performance, and profit." Does anyone hire a management consultant for any other reason than to do those things? Finish the following statement... Well I ______ ______ _____ !!! That's a platitude if I ever heard one!
Or what about an auto mechanic that says, "We're honest. We fix your car right the first time." Well I would hope so. Is it believable? Does it tell you anything about the company's inside reality? What else would you expect the guy to say? "Hey, we're lousy. We'll fix things that aren't broken, and make sure the original problem goes unsolved so you'll bring it back so we can fix it and charge you again." Of course not. Everyone's always going to say wonderful things about their company if the can get away with it. Again, the problem is that if you're company has an exceptional inside reality, and you're using all the same platitudes as everyone else, the outside perception is that you're what? That's right: Exactly like everyone else.
These platitudinal statements are about like the haircutter telling you that your hair will be shorter after it's cut, or the gas station telling you you'll have more gas after you fill the tank. You can take this test right now as you listen to this program. Answer the simple question, why would anyone choose you over your competitors? Then honestly evaluate it against the "Well, I would hope so!" evaluation. Yes, this is a real exercise. Go ahead and answer the question right now. Now look at your answer. is it a platitude? Is it a word or phrase that is drearily commonplace and predictable that lacks power to evoke interest through over-use or repetition that you have nevertheless stated as though it were original or significant? Does your inside reality shine through? Next, check out all of your printed advertising and marketing materials. Do they pass the "Well I would hope so!" evaluation? Or are they full of platitudes? If not, then you need to make changes. Or you had at least better hope and pray that one of your competitors doesn't get hold of one of our programs! Okay, on to the second platitude evaluation, which is:
"Who Else Can Say That?" This is similar to evaluation #1--and is also a product of the era of the brand builders. Pay close attention to this one; the question is not who else can do what you do. The question is who else can say what you say. The answer is usually.... anybody and everybody.
One time we consulted with an auto repair facility that was by FAR the most awesome business of its kind we've ever seen. They had 63 bays, 11 mechanics who were fully ASE certified in all 8 areas of specialization, and twice as much hi-tech equipment as any dealership, and floors so clean you could eat off of them. They turn out 95% of all jobs in less than 24 hours, and unconditionally guaranteed all repairs. If you ever called in to check the status of your car, they would patch you directly through to the TECHNICIAN working on your car via 900 mhz phone and he'd tell you personally how things were going. They had a waiting room that included a play area for your kids, free drinks and snacks, magazines that were actually current, and bathrooms cleaner than you'll find in your house. Their inside reality was literally second to none.
But they had a big marketing problem: Even though nobody could even come close to performing at their level, their advertising looked virtually identical to all of their less-competent competitors. Their yellow pages ad, for instance, used the same generalities and platitudes as everybody else: "ASE certified mechanics. Foreign and Domestic Cars Serviced. And then a long laundry list of services performed....ranging from air conditioners to brakes to transmissions.and get this.they accept visa and MasterCard. Holy smokes. If you were paying attention a minute a go, you'll already recognize that it fails the, "Well I would hope so!" test. But then ask this question: "Who else can say that."
We asked the owner and the service manager that very question, and the service manager started to get really upset with us. "There's nobody else that can even touch us. The dealerships bring cars to us that THEY can't fix. Our mechanics are far and away the best in the state. Nobody... and I mean nobody can say what we say." I was a little nervous, the guy was all bent out of shape. He was screaming and flailing around; snot was flying out of the guy's nose he was so mad. It's about the closest we've ever come to getting in a fistfight during a consultation! So finally, to try to prove the point in a civil way, I told the owner to pull out the Yellow Pages and see what all of his competitors were saying. Let's just say, his jaw hung open for about two minutes.... before he pointed at the page and said to the service manager... Look. I know this guy. He's terrible. His ad says the exact same thing that ours does. In fact, I think he copied our layout and verbiage... word for word." He looked at the page and saw that all of the ads were virtually identical to his. There was no way to deny it, not when you're staring at the evidence Remember, it's not who can do what you do, it's who can SAY what you are saying.
Guess What Industry This Is: "Experienced staff; company in business 35 years. Research & Development of new technology. Customer service always available. I'm always available to client after the sale." Any clue as to their inside reality? This could be any company, any industry. These remarks are all drearily commonplace and lack power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition.
Here's the last quick platitude detection evaluation, then we need to move on: it's called the scratch out, write in test. Look at your brochure or advertisement. Now scratch your name out and write in your competitor's name. If the ad is still valid.... if there wouldn't need to be any additional changes, then you've failed the test. Now, get your competitor's ad and scratch out their name and write in yours. Does this exercise after listening to this program... it could be very revealing. I think you'll find that you run pretty high on the platitude meter. I think you'll find that you're inside reality, excellent as it may be, is nowhere to be found, lost in a mucky swamp of platitudes, and never revealed.
To get the most out of this program, you really need to evaluate your own materials against the platitude evaluations.. Well I would hope so, who else can say that, and the cross out write in evaluation. While you're pondering that, I also want to give you some examples from other people's bad marketing. You can find them on page 8 of your companion volume, or you can find them on the web at www.mymbook.com. We're going to review these ads very quickly. The first one is the ad for the auto repair shop with the phenomenal inside reality that I talked about just a minute ago. I said earlier that their ad didn't do a good job of portraying their inside reality. Well, now you can see what I mean. It's so full of platitudes it's pathetic. By the way, what is a Rotech Diagnostic System anyway? And what does it mean to be servicing New R134A? Nobody knows, but they felt it was important enough to include . Now look at the ad for the Sharp Copier Dealer. Get ready to peg the platitude meter. Right there at the beginning, you've got the headline Sharp Image with the words quality and reliability underneath. Wow, that's original and significant. Then the first line reads "Sharp copiers and Southwest Office Systems bring a higher level of productivity to your office. Well I'd hope so. Who else can say that? Do you really believe that? "High volume performance, outstanding reliability, and razor sharp copy quality keep you ahead of your copying demands." "Sales and service excellence are the cornerstones of our family owned business. blah blah blah blah blah." Do you know what this reminds me of? Do you remember watching those Peanuts cartoon specials on tv back in the seventies. with Charlie Brown and Snoopy? Remember what would happen in those cartoons whenever one of the kids would talk to an adult? Whenever the adults would speak, you wouldn't actually hear the words they were saying; instead, all you would hear was (SOUND).. Remember that! (SOUND)! That's exactly what this ad sounds like. and any ad that's full of platitudes. Let's read it one more time:
"Sharp copiers and Southwest Office Systems bring a higher level of (WA WA WA WA) to your office. High volume performance, outstanding reliability, and razor sharp (WA WA WA WA WA) are the cornerstones of our family owned (WA WA WA). Sounds about right, doesn't it!
Is this making sense to you as you listen? Is it evident that this might be a problem for you now, a tremendous competitive advantage if you could figure out how to fix it? We're going to cover the "Marketing Equation" here in just a minute on this program, and I'm going to show you exactly how to fix this problem and get rid of the platitudes forever. I'm going to show you how to become a communications powerhouse, make your outside perception become a good reflection of your inside reality, and start to get the results from your marketing that you SHOULD be getting.
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