The power of clear language

Have you ever read a print ad or website copy for a product or service and thought to yourself, “I don’t get it”?  Or has a conversation with a sales rep or service provider left you scratching your head, thinking, “It shouldn’t be this complicated”?  I must admit I can answer “Yes” to both questions.

I also must admit that as a once and (hopefully) future marketer I have a guilty pleasure:  clever copy.  I just love a witty headline, a cute tagline, tongue-in-cheek verbiage, and plays on words to communicate information about products and services.  Throw in some cool iconography, and I’m generally a happy camper.  It is sometimes all too easy for me to see marketing communication vehicles as ends in their own right rather than means to support the ends (sales).  However, I am slowly improving.

Marketing materials must, first and foremost, clearly communicate the right message(s) about the product or service.  And there is no better way to do that than to use clear, direct language about what the product or service does, its benefit(s) to the consumer, and its value.  The power of such clear language is that it can easily co-exist with eye-catching graphic treatments and well-crafted copy.  You see, clear language is well-crafted copy.  Consumers are increasingly bombarded by media and messaging of all sorts. The clearly communicated product will naturally stand out from the cute, yet confusing copy of competitors.

OK, that last bit of alliteration may have been over the top.  Use clear language in your marketing efforts.  If your product or service can meet the criteria of the following simple checklist, then your clarity will win the day.  Clear language easily supports sales efforts of a product or service which demonstrates:

  1. High quality.  There is simply no substitute for quality manufacturing or service.
  2. It meets a need or solves a problem for customers and potential customers.  In other words, its features have clear benefits.
  3. It has an appropriate price or a clear ROI.

If your offering doesn’t meet these simple criteria, you are likely better off working on your product rather than your communications about it.  If your offering does meet these criteria, then clear communication should be easy.  And just to ensure it is, run that new marketing piece by people outside of your marketing team or company’s inner circle.  Let customers, prospects, and people outside your industry take a look.  You may be surprised just how powerful using clear language can be.

If you liked this post, please share it.  If you didn’t or if it wasn’t quite clear, please let me know.


About jmichaeldunn

A self-proclaimed "dental geek", I am passionate about the dental industry, oral health, and dental technology marketing. I have spent the last decade in various marketing capacities for dental technology companies. I enjoy talking about dental marketing with just about anyone and helping companies grow through developing innovative and integrated marketing communications campaigns.
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3 Responses to The power of clear language

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Michael!

    Concise, compelling copy is King. As a former copywriter, I would spend the most time developing the headline because that was what would either entice people to stop and read the rest of the ad or move on.

    How many companies test their ads to see which version gets the highest response? Amazing that so many will sqaunder their media budgets on untested creative concepts. “Keep your fingers crossed!”

    I believe a lot of bad copy is due to the influence of sales and engineering types who think they know what is important and don’t, or just don’t know how to express it clearly and simply. I’ve also seen many ads mucked up by commitee.

    On the flip side of the headline is the call to action. Too many marketers think it’s just a phone number – but that’s a another blog for you to write.


  2. jmichaeldunn says:

    V, thanks for the comment! As usual, you hit on some key points, especially regarding copy by committee. Seeking consensus is a worthy endeavor, but too many cooks in the creative kitchen often do spoil the entree so to speak.


  3. Pingback: The Dunn Show 2014 Year in Review | The Dunn Show

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