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Jul 11

Wording Marketing Materials

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

I spend a fair amount of time writing. I understand that words matter, even small words. I tell myself that I should labor over words in an article more carefully, but time does not allow me this luxury. However, when I write ad copy; I choose my words more carefully.  I realize that each word creates an image of the business and can gain or lose business. Whether I market on the Internet or through print media, words are my bridge to potential customers.


A classic example is the use of horsepower in rating engines. The term was first used by James Watt, inventor of the steam engine.  Watt learned that a pony in a coal mine could deliver 22,000 foot-pounds of work each minute. Then, he arbitrarily increased it by 50% and established a horsepower rating of 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute for machine purposes. A form of this power measurement is still used today in automobiles, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and a variety of other engines. When automobiles were beginning to replace horse transportation, car manufacturers prominently displayed the horsepower rating as a way of assisting new buyers to understand how much more powerful these vehicles were.

How we use words determines our overall sales. For example, car dealerships are better off using “previously owned vehicles” rather than “used cars.” I’m amazed at how many signs throughout town advertise “used cars” rather than “previously owned.” 

Consider how hand-cut steaks provides additional perceived value to customers when placed on menus. In the same way, upscale jewelry stores use “estate jewelry” rather than “used” jewelry. The right words enhance sales.

I purchased an expensive chair to relieve back pain. For a variety of reasons, the chair did not meet my expectations.  I was stuck with an expensive item, so I decided to advertise it for sale and try to get some of my money back. In my advertisement, I listed the medical benefits and identified the chair as “lightly used for medical purposes and now available to assist the next owner.” The chair sold for half of the original price, quickly. That was my goal.

Jesus taught, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15, NIV) When we market our products, we need to remember the example from this teaching of Jesus.  We should always put our products and services in the best light.  The right words will help.

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