Marketing copy should give readers a smooth ride forward like a gentle stream under a water tube–or, given that it is December, like a beginner’s slope under skis.
But all too often readers are faced with sentences like this: “We help companies effectuate change through the innovative utilization of technological solutions.”
The main problem with that sentence is not what it says but how it says it. The sentence is weighed down by 2 three-syllable, 2 four-syllable, and 2 five-syllable words. And so the sentence weighs readers down. They figure they ought to know what it says because all the words are proper English words arranged in a proper sentence but they are fighting their way upstream and uphill.
Now consider this version: “We help you control change by using new technologies.”
It says exactly the same thing but the only word with more than two syllables is “technologies.” That’s a hard word to replace with anything simpler, which is fine.
The revised sentence is also three words shorter. It makes its point and moves on. It immediately engages the readers by addressing them directly (“you”). It carries them forward fast and smooth, which is what marketing copy should do: keep readers reading.
Why do writers bog down their marketing copy with unnecessary multi-syllable words? Partly because they hope a big vocabulary will impress their readers. But marketing copy should never be a vocabulary test. And even people with doctorates in the field do not know a product or service as well as the business that provides it. If they did, they wouldn’t need that business.
Another reason for using obscure and complicated language is that writers think that’s the way marketing copy should sound. So many businesses use phrases like “innovative utilization” that writers feel they have to use them to compete. However, those same writers in the role of consumers–of readers–absolutely hate struggling through dense, static sentences. Why keep doing what clearly doesn’t work?
Readers want marketing copy that moves. They want information they can understand fast. They want clear, everyday words. They want a smooth, fast ride to the buy button.
Do you want to help them? Contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Our words truly mean business.