The Scribbler

10 August 2006

How to make sense of marketing – part 1

Filed under: copy writing,Marketing,words — The Scribbler @ 21:40

In my job as a copywriter, I often encounter very long and unwieldy sentences, particularly when my clients are trying to cram as many product features into as small a space as possible. It’s my job to unpick the seams of these sentences and suggest alternatives which are easier to understand and which you can actually read out loud without the need for oxygen!

These lengthy statements often fall into a pattern which I’ve called “Venn diagram style”. If a product or service does all these things AND all these other things, clients often place the product in the middle of the copy.

So for example, I might be presented with the following sentence:

“Designed to help you communicate with your customers, reach new audiences and sell your services more efficiently, Product X can open up new markets, boost your sales and retain customer loyalty to your business.” [NB This is a made-up example].

Fair enough, it’s not impossible to wade through and understand the message, but it does look a bit unwieldy and I’m all for simplicity when it comes to copy.

A simple way to unpack the Venn diagram style is to separate the ideas into two or more sentences. 

For example:
“Product X is designed to help you communicate with your customers, reach new audiences and sell your services more efficiently. Product X can open up new markets, boost your sales and retain customer loyalty to your business. ”

Or the slightly more elegant:
“Product X is designed to help you communicate with your customers, reach new audiences and sell your services more efficiently. As well as helping you to open up new markets, Product X can boost your sales and retain customer loyalty to your business.”

Of course, I often have to persuade my clients that packing all their super-duper features into one sentence is not necessarily the best way to get the message across. Sometimes less is more. More effective. More eyecatching. It has more impact.  

But when the clients absolutely insist that everything’s got to be in there somewhere, unpacking the Venn diagram is a useful tool.

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