TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 6


Yesterday’s Marketing is Dead: Part 3

Purge Platitudes and Employ the Marketing Equation

“It's not just what you can do that others cannot. It's what you can say (and support) that others cannot.”
Today, we're witnessing a collage of poor marketing that seemingly duplicates one another's unoriginal poor marketing. The culprit? Platitudes — drearily commonplace words and phrases that don’t evoke interest but are used as if they are original, leading customers to become jaded.

Some examples? “High quality," "great customer service," "large selection," "most professional" and "been in business since 1351 B.C.”

It is impossible to make inside reality and outside perception match up using platitudes. If all marketers say the same thing, all things are equal from the buyer’s standpoint.

No matter how great your inside reality — products, services, personnel, systems, service level and quality — outside perception can halt the growth of your business if you fail to communicate in a manner that cuts through, connects and facilitates.


Two litmus tests allow you to purge your marketing messages of platitudes:

  • The "Well gee ... I would hope so" response applies to ads that use phrases such as “We fix your car right the first time.”
  • For the second evaluation, simply replace your name in the ad with your competitor's name. If the ad still remotely applies, chances are you've fallen into the platitude trap.


It's not just what you can do that others cannot. It's what you can say (and support) that others cannot. The marketing equation — the formula for leveraging your marketing momentum from Rich Harshaw's Monopolize Your Marketplace system — is abbreviated “I-E-E-O = Results.”

Interrupt: First, get qualified prospects to pay attention to your message. This is accomplished by hitting their hot buttons, which trigger activators.

Engage: Once captivated, hold the attention span long enough to promise forthcoming information that will help facilitate decision making.

Educate: Identify important issues of which prospects need to be aware. Then, quickly demonstrate how you stack up against those issues. Think of the prospect as a jury, and build a rock-solid case for your business. This facilitates the buying decision.

Offer: Give prospects a low-risk way to take the next step in the buying process. Put more information in their hands and allow them to feel in total control of the decision.

This formula should be applied to each and every aspect of your total event marketing campaign, including printed collateral, signage, website message and sponsorships.


Exhibitors consistently fall short in this area. Notice how many trade show booths have the company name as the predominant visual message — the “interrupt.” People don't care about the name of your company until they know what the company can do for them.

Many booths rely on gimmickry with a weird or unusual theme, but after the "interrupt," they fail to effectively take the next steps: to engage and educate prospects and to afford them a low-risk way to continue the buying process.

People mistakenly believe that celebrities like Tiger Woods sell Buicks, and that Cave Men sell insurance. They are not used to sell, but rather to interrupt, so that the prospect is led to the next step in the equation.


Although the inexorable forces of change will require fine-tuning, this formula delivers winning results today. Opportunistic marketers are quickly deploying this effective marketing equation amid the current landscape of ineffective marketing by competitors.

In the next issue, you'll learn about factors that drive the “I-E-E-O = Results” equation in order to tweak your strategic marketing so that it is filled with hot buttons that activate the part of the brain that must be engaged throughout the buying cycle.

Also see "Yesterday's Marketing is Dead: Part 1" and "Yesterday's Marketing is Dead: Part 2."

Videography and editing by Alison Marek. Sound by Joe Fiorello.

Charles W. AllenWriter's Bio: Charles W. Allen is an independent consultant for professional event marketing solutions and specializes in sales training, motivational speaking and maximizing sponsorship sales. He also serves as executive director of the International Economic Alliance, which originated at Harvard University. Read more articles by this author


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