Results Are Driving Me Crazy

A Copywriter’s Rant

Companies can’t resist the urge to talk, especially when they have nothing to say. Unfortunately, verbal mush is not marketing. Here’s an example I stumbled across this week. A website’s home page boasted not once, but twice:

We deliver results.

What does that mean, exactly? Is it an attempt to differentiate the company from competitors who promise to not deliver results or who promise to deliver causes?

It’s safe to assume every person visiting this site takes for granted that the company delivers results; after all, the implicit understanding that a seller will fulfill its contractual obligations is a foundational principle of free enterprise.

A statement like “we deliver results” means absolutely nothing. Most B2B sites are loaded with statements like this — and company executives wonder why people are indifferent about their brands.

For years I’ve wondered what’s behind the deluge of drivel. Why do we have so much mush and so little of this:

The problem is, people don’t know when to shut up. We see it all the time: the meeting that could have been a memo, the 4-page brochure that could have been a bumper sticker, the PowerPoint presentation that could have ended 25 slides earlier.

Over and above our natural inclinations, external pressures keep our lips flap, flap flapping. The content marketing craze is all about more, more, more. For many the content marketing mantra is, why say something once when you can say it again? And then there’s the social media train: More tweets! More pins! More posts! More everything!

Shut Up, Already!

Most designers would tell you that one of the most powerful and persuasive elements of a page of content is white space. Less is more. Better to keep quite and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Remove the clutter and give your real message a fighting chance to be heard.

Buried amid the jetsam and flotsam of delivering results, this particular company made it known that it’s saved clients tens of thousands of dollars a year. Its client retention is upwards of 90%.

If this company limited its home page content to these two facts and these two facts alone, its lead generation would triple.

Rant over. Now I’ll shut up. What do you think? (OK, now I’ll shut up.)

B2B Insights