Is your copy underselling your business?
One of the great ironies of the information age is
that business leaders get separated from their
businesses by “business”. They start with full
participation, and are progressively removed
from the creative aspects of doing business
because they’re “busy”.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the
appalling standards of some copy. For whatever
reason the inspiration and business savvy of the
main managers goes out of the picture,
information quality suffers.
So do sales:
How many times has a customer said that they
“didn’t know” about something your business
does on a regular basis?
How many times has another business been
unaware of your services?
This lack of information costs business. Good
sales staff will undo some of the damage, but
Your copy is what customers know about your
They may or may not know that you can deliver
high value services. They may not know that you
specialize in solving problems. What they don’t
see, in effect, they don’t know.
The reasons for this situation are nothing less
1. A focus on presentation rather than
information quality and business values.
You’ve got a glossy ad selling a watch, for
example, for $5000. So what? If the customer’s
not looking for a watch, what are their incentives
to look further? What about the rest of the
2. Leaving out the business perspective
in B2B copy and not addressing customer
In B2B copy, cryptic crosswords selling services
and products aren’t exactly popular. Presumably,
if you can guess what the service does and why
you need it, you win a prize.
3. Copywriters not contributing value.
(This is embarrassing, but true.) Why is the client
supposed to be doing all the work, not the
copywriters? Good copywriters contribute ideas
and good content, too, not just a shopping list.
Good marketing and good copy make a good
team. Good marketing and a lazy copy scenario
just cost money.
I must point out here that seeing selling points is
what copywriters are supposed to do. Most
copywriters know quite a bit about client markets,
and related markets. It’s pure laziness not to
On the business end, the trouble is that the boss,
and usually the other key drivers of business like
sales managers, are out of the picture when it
comes to copy and information for consumers. All
they see is a finished product. It looks nice. It’s
“sparkly”, trendy, whatever. It may not sell a damn
thing, but it’s “industry standard” copy.
“Industry standard” is a synonym for content mill
garbage. Any fool can write you pages and
pages of uninformative, uninteresting, point-
missing, crap. It’s not penetrative. It’s nothing like
interesting. It’s not different. It’s not even attention-
getting. Therefore, it gets ignored. Even major
brands suffer from this problem, putting
customers to sleep.
When the real business drivers, the core people,
get involved, it’s a very different story. Yes, it’s a
superior product. Yes, it’s high value. Yes, you get
a suite of services as well. The same inspirational
motive force that started and ran the business
from day one is much stronger force than the
bureaucratic, couldn’t care less approach.
There is nothing more dangerous to a business
than a bored, uninterested customer. Sales
figures will show you exactly how bored and how
uninterested they are.
Senior management has a real role in this field.
That level of expertise is what created the
business, after all.
Junior managers and admin can’t be expected to
know everything about what makes the business
If you want good copy, get involved!
While you’re at it, call me. Happy to help.