AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerAdvertising Words I Wish Would Go Away

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Advertising Words I Wish Would Go Away

Do you have words you just don’t like? At the risk of sounding snarky, I have a few words in advertising that really bug me. bad digital ad

The words are vast (and vast array), myriad, excellence and strive.

Strive: You see this a lot in mission and vision statements. Striving does not mean achieving. The word is defined as to struggle or fight vigorously. Replace strive in your mission statement or advertising with the words, vigorously fight or struggle against. I think you’ll see a difference.

Myriad: I’ve used this word myriad times, but it always sounds pretentious. It shouldn’t be used in marketing.

Vast or Vast Array: I heard this word in a furniture ad referring to its vast selection. It just sounds wrong to my ear. The Grand Canyon is vast, a row of La-Z-Boys is not.

Tradition of Excellence: It is definitely time for this phrase to go. It is such a lazy phrase, and colleges/universities seem to enjoy using this phrase most often. In all our research, I’ve never heard a teenager (or parent for that matter) say they want to go to a college with a “tradition of excellence.” When you think of services you have received recently, do you ever think “excellence” or a “tradition of excellence.”

I saw this JWU digital ad for an online education experience. It’s so excellent, it has “competitively priced degree programs,” but the rest of the copy on the landing page is too hard to read because there is a photo behind the text — again, more excellence.

Hard to live up to a tradition of excellence. Better to be honest and more straightforward.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.