The Most Selfish Words in Marketing

Lake Superior University recently announced their 41st Annual List of Banished words and phrases. A collection of letters that when combined, produce sounds and meanings so heinous, they don’t deserve to be uttered any longer. Some of those listed were ‘vape’, ‘manspreading’, and ‘break the internet’ which frankly, is fair enough.

Unfortunately, Lake Superior missed one phrase, and the record needs to be set straight.
What is the most overused, and ultimately meaningless phrase in the world of marketing today?

‘We are excited…’

Often used in the context of making announcements about well… something. ‘We are excited’ has scourged the decent and innocent art of marketing copywriting, and spread like a virus.

It’s everywhere!

What’s the problem?

The problem with ‘we’re so excited’ is it looks inwards to the organisation – instead of saying why the potential customer should be excited, or even vaugely interested in something.

It’s an easy mistake to make, as often, the person writing will often be genuinely pleased to share their latest update, their new partnership etc. with the community. But for the rest of the world – those people who do not live and breath the business – the feeling is often ‘what’s in it for me?’

Kathy Sierra puts this far better than anyone else. Her video is below, but to paraphrase for convinience, it’s about thinking ‘what makes my customers feel like they are badass when they use my product’ not ‘what makes my company sound good’.

So, what can be done?

Simply. Write for the reader, not for yourself. Tell them why the announcement is exciting for them and how it will improve their lives. Sell the benefits and not the features. And was it mentioned to tell the customer why it’s exciting for them. Make your customers badass above all.
Kathy’s video is below. It’s seriously worth watching.


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2 responses to “The Most Selfish Words in Marketing”

  1. Matt Passell says:

    Thanks! I totally agree. I’ve received so many emails telling me how excited a company is to reveal their new app icon or other branding change. I’m sure they care about it, but as an existing customer, I certainly don’t. I’d expect language like that to be reserved for a significant change to their product, such as a major new release.