Avoiding Marketing Cliches

For journalists and consumers alike, it’s baffling why so many companies aren’t willing to just use plain English to describe what they provide. Just what is an “innovative provider of fully-integrated, leading-edge, end-to-end business solutions” anyway?

We’ve recorded a podcast highlighting the importance of avoiding common stereotypes in marketing speak. Firstly, consumers and journalists want to know exactly what a company does before they consider buying their products or services, or consider writing about them in their articles or blogs.

On the media side this is particularly important as if you're not clear about what you provide then journalists will describe it for you and you lose control of your messaging.

Have a listen to our podcast on the common pitfalls to avoid. These are some of our pet hates:

1) Market/world’s leading: Unless you're BP, Real Madrid or Microsoft, you probably don't lead your category - this phrase is overused
2) Solutions: Everyone seems to offer 'solutions' but that implies there's a problem in the first place. What's the real picture?
3) Award-winning: Aren’t we all? If it's not significant, don't mention it
4) End-to-end: What end to what end?

Here's the podcast, we welcome your comments on your most hated cliches!


Shocking headline of the day: Twitter users read The Guardian

Avid Twitter fans know the link between Twitter, and its bedfellow liberal paper The Guardian, so won't be surprised to learn a study has suggested the group of Twitter users, as a whole, are the 3rd most liberal group in the UK just behind liberal democrat voters but ahead of the traditional leftist group of 16-34 year olds.

Dicey stats from a study written by Captain Obvious. But what is interesting to ponder is that leading media site Brand Republic has lent publicity to such a direct link between Twitter and liberal papers. Are we at risk of alienating the 'other half' of the population entirely? Twitter's best attribute is its democratic nature. If we alienate rightists aren't we undermining the very point of Twitter? Discuss.


Do PRs actually listen to journalists?

It’s quite interesting to work on both sides of the journalist/PR fence as I do, coupling my PR and social media work with writing for New Media Knowledge. I have to say that in my experience many typical PR approaches don’t seem to have changed all that much since 2000, when I was writing for the now defunct IT Week magazine. The platforms may have changed, but have the quality of pitches?

Journalists continue to rant about poor quality PR pitches, something I’ve blogged on before ad nauseum, so one has to wonder what effect endless PR degrees and expensive staff media training courses from former hacks have actually had on the PR industry. Or is it just a bad bunch of ostriches which have ignored advice and rants from those who should know but still continue to plough on in the old skool mode?

This podcast I recorded with freelance journalist Gordon Kelly for my new DIY marketing, PR and digital media resource, RunMarketing, should be listened to by all PRs and played to any clients who pressure them into peddling non-stories. By listening to each other we can improve this industry for the overall good of media and news reporting.


Social Media 09 - big budget noise, but where's the innovation?

New firm Run Marketing started up recently with an excellent website for digital marketing advice for small business. Hatch PR associate Chris Lee, director of Run Marketing, attended the Social Media 09 conference last week in London and posted a good summary of what was on offer.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to hear the agenda was dominated (apparently) by big budget examples of brands using social media for integrated campaigns. For a start, the London conference schedule is rammed with shows like this and I wish they'd taken a different stance with this new show. Where are our grass roots, innovation on a shoestring examples? Small business showing how clever marketing doesn't require huge dollars? Isn't that exactly what social media is all about?

After all, how much is a Twitter account? Free. Creating a Facebook group? Free. Conducting question and answer sessions over LinkedIN? Free.

But many a 'digital media' agency seems to be perversely charging clients big sums for creative and innovative social media campaigns. If ideas have been the bread and butter for PR for a longtime, the 'value add' that comes as standard with every programme but doesn't have its own price tag attached, shouldn't social media be the same? Traditional PR requires some use of tools and resources that cost overheads. But social media doesn't. So why should social media cost a lot to implement?

Like Run Marketing says, we want to see examples of grassroots social media campaigns. They are more interesting, less error-prone (thinking about the Habitat debacle with that comment) and far more 'viral'. That's more effective, in our book.