Jeremy Tuber

The platitude and the platypus, and what they have to do with small business marketing and advertising

Small business marketing advice: the platitude versus the platypus

Have you ever heard of a “platitude” before?

I’ve always found it kind of a funny that platitude sounds a lot like a “platypus.” There’s a big difference between them though: the platypus is an exceptional animal that is so distinctive, that people stop and stare at it. Have you ever seen one of these buggers? They’re crazy looking. Conversely, the platitude isn’t so unique. In fact, it causes people to yawn and become disinterested and disengaged. So if you’re tracking, platypus=good; platitude=not good.

So what is a platitude?

A leading marketing expert in Phoenix, AZ described a platitude like this, “Words are phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable. They lack power to evoke interest because of their overuse or repetition. Nevertheless, they are stated as though they were original or significant.”

Below is a quick list of platitude perpetrators to look out for. How many times have you seen them in other small business videos, marketing, and advertising?

* We’re the fastest
* More honest
* Best service
* Get the job done right
* Largest selection
* Most convenient
* We’re experts

The above claims are positive—don’t get me wrong, but how often have you watched an online promo video or sifted through trade ads that all looked and said the same thing? When small business use lazy platitudes in their marketing efforts prospects and consumers don’t see any originality or differentiation, they become disinterested. Everything becomes white noise, and sales don’t happen.

By using platitudes (e.g., “we’re the best,” or, “our customers love us”) in marketing and advertising, you’re in effect telling your prospects that there really isn’t any difference between you and the competition, and there’s no real reason they should choose to do business with you. If your marketing and advertising says the same thing as everyone else, you’ll get lost with everyone else.

Because you’re investing hard-earned money into your business you want to get the most out of your investment, and that means making sure whoever does your marketing and advertising can make your projects unique and effective.

What you can conclude here is that in order to get more customers, better customers and get the absolute most out of your marketing and advertising dollars you have to discover and bring out what’s unique about you. Different is good, in fact, being different is essential—if you’re not unique, you’re invisible.

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