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Say it out loud

I first heard the term ‘blandvertising’ at least ten years ago, and it has stuck with me. I just looked it up, and this is the earliest reference I can find. Blandvertising is the use of marketing claims that look fine but don’t mean anything. Needless to say, we should avoid it at all costs.

Blandvertising fills up space but doesn’t drive sales. It includes vague labelling instead of active, quantified claims. It’s the use of words like ‘leading’, or even ‘number one’ in something where every customer knows it’s impossible to make meaningful comparisons. It’s basically a lack of effort.

As we all know (but often forget), there are some very basic rules for creating advertising that converts. Keep it simple; tell the customer what’s in it for them; and back this up with evidence such as numbers or testimonials. That means having to identify the customer, because it’s the only way that we can target them directly. A lot of blandvertising comes about because the writer doesn’t actually know who they’re selling to.

I always ask myself if I’d be happy to actually say out loud – to a live human being – the words that I’d just written. Imagine you’re standing at a trade exhibition, chatting to one of your competitors, when someone approaches the two of you. Who would the visitor walk off with?

Visitor: Hello, I’m here to source a new supplier of blue widgets for commercial aircraft. Do you know who can help?

Supplier 1: You’re in the right place! I’m here demonstrating a new blue widget which is already increasing throughput by 24% for three aerospace manufacturers.

Supplier 2: We can help too! Our company is a market-leading supplier of widget logistics technology solutions. Globally. Er… do come and visit us afterwards…