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Posted on: Friday, March 27, 2009

Go to your organization's website; How many of these words can you find there: ROI, Quality, Scalability, Security, Reliability, Extendibility, Enterprise. How many other hollow words lacking meaning, purpose and any form of originality can you find on your website or your corporate blog? If you can count more than ten occurrences of those words, here's my ten-to-fifteen-year-prediction for your organization.

Obviously, it won't happen overnight; but it'll happen.

That or your organization will forever remain in the realm of mediocrity; much like the Taxi cabs waiting outside the airport; all of them looking exactly the like other; competing for the same set of customers and landing on their customers by random co-incidences.

Guy Kawasaki in his book The Art of Start gives advice to young and budding startups on how to differentiate themselves. He explains:

Most companies use the same terms to describe their product or service. It's as if they all believe that their prospective customers have been living on a desert island and have never before heard a product or service referred to as "high-quality," "robust," "easy-to-use," "fast," or "safe."

To see what I mean, apply the Opposite Test: Do you describe your offering in a way that is opposite to that of your competition?

If you do, then you're saying something different. If you don't, then  your descriptions are impotent.

Much like the crappy jargon guys; organizations that use these words are flaunting the fact that they know nothing about making these words a part of their life-style. It's an open invitation to any mind with two brain cells or an iota of common sense to land on these websites and call the bluff.

Putting words like quality, ROI, security, salability, enterprise on your corporate website while describing what your your organization does; is like introducing yourself to a stranger who you meet for the first time, with one of the the following lines:

  1. Hi; I am Fred and I am clean. I have a bath every day.
  2. Hi; I am Fred and I wash my hands after when I leave the toilet.
  3. Hi; I am Fred and I wear clothes to office.

I could go on forever, but you get the idea. Making a big noise about Quality, Scalability, Reliability is like considering your having a bath every day your core strength.

It's stupid. Insanely stupid.

On the other hand; look around and you'll notice quite a few organizations using these words rather generously. Reasons; as stupid as they may be; are rather obvious. If you find more than ten noise words on your corporate website or product description it's probably because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Your organization has little or no respect for users. Most software companies tend to think their customers are idiots anyways.
  2. Your organization is busy playing it safe and actually enjoy being the white cows instead of working to become a purple one.
  3. Whoever owns the content for your website is either way too conventional; or just doesn't get it. 

All you do by using these words on your corporate website, is flaunt that you have a marketing team that thinks your customers are idiots. That or the fact, that your organization knows nothing about these words; because those who do; make it a part of their life; just like they have a shower every day. These individuals and organizations alike; do not make a big noise about it.

Hollow random big words on your public website end up being nothing other than an advertisement of your organizational ignorance and immaturity.

Avoid random marketing words that lack any clarity, meaning or originality on your website and while speaking to your customers.

If you happen to have random hollow words on your product website them consider removing them.

Long story short, don't create product descriptions and websites that are, as Guy Kawasaki articulately puts it --- impotent.

Don't bastardize your content; whether it is for your public website or your blog.

Give your website content and your product descriptions an impotency check today.

Tell us something different.

Tell us your superpower.

We won't mind if you're crappy; talk about what is it that makes you 'remarkable'.

Tell us why we should care.

Seriously.