I love swearing as much as the next bloke. Just read any of my blog posts and it’s pretty likely that at some point I’ve cussed in the writing.
Something I’m seeing more and more of however, is “thug marketing”.
“We make great shit to help you sell more shit”
Tell me you haven’t seen wanky value statements or mission objectives like this?
It does my head in. Why? Because the reason people use this unimaginative, low brow, hack language is the same reason they don’t like corporate jargon.
I’m also not a fan of corporate jargon or marketing speak.
- transition value-added models
- matrix world-class convergence
- generate proactive solutions
No one likes this kind of language, because it doesn’t mean anything. If anyone was to read this, it’s tough to define what they’re really referring to.
The big problem with corporate jargon, or marketing bullshit speak, is that while everyone claims to avoid it, they’ll happily fall into another trap.
Thug marketing is that next wave of bullshit.
“We create fucking awesome websites to help you sell your fucking awesome products.”
Oh right? So you don’t create fucking awful websites to help me sell fucking awful products?
The problem with thug marketing lies in the exact same trench with corporate jargon or marketing bullshit. It’s still a cover up for a business that doesn’t really know what it does.
If you build websites, that’s great. Funnels? Fantastic. Tell me who you work with and the kinds of results you’re getting.
A lot of thug marketing is under the illusion that it’s projecting a no bullshit policy. When in fact, it’s re-enforcing the exact same bland, vague message that a lot of corporate marketing bullshit gets blamed for.
I know why people do it, I know it looks cool and edgy. It’s fun to swear right? It’s cool to say “I don’t take no nonsense from no-one!”
But just like the middle-class kid who get’s “seriously into hip-hop”, it’s often a case of trying to impress people and project a certain identity. Rather than work hard on crafting an identity, or understand more about yourself and your customers.
Like I’ve said, there’s nothing wrong with swearing. There’s nothing wrong with being a tough-guy act. But Ronseal “does what it says on the tin” only works when you’re telling people what’s on the tin.
“We make shit and sell shit and everything else is bullshit.”
Well, good luck with that. While you’re making shit and selling shit, someone else will define your category and steal it from you.
What this means, is that your down to Earth and radical no nonsense approach, could in fact be harming your business.
A business with a clear purpose is far more appealing and powerful than one that acts like a drunk fat guy at a party. Smashing everything up and telling people “just how it is”, will only get you so far. Once people realise you don’t have a personality or anything interesting to say, they’ll get bored.
Worse still, someone who has reflected on what their purpose is and what their mission is, is more likely to define the very niche or market you’re “dominating”.
Absolutely have a personality in your business. Absolutely use language in a way that you’d use to speak it.
But don’t confuse aggressive statements with clear direction. Teenagers do a GREAT job of being angry and furious at the system. But it’s usually pretty shallow and doesn’t offer much else other than a righteous indignation.
In the same way that we loathe corporate businesses for statements like “we design and deliver the right communications and integration services to connect them with the things that matter.” What the hell does this mean?
It’s TRYING to be clever. It’s trying to show how human and friendly they are. It’s like an AI supercomputer learned how to speak and is trying to pretend to be human.
“I help fellow humans enjoy the food that they like to eat and I also eat because I’m definitely not a robot AI.”
It’s a lacquer of varnish over a very, very thin premise. It doesn’t mean anything and it’s the result of a lack of focus and vision.
Thug marketing is exactly the same. A lack of vision and purpose will create bland, meaningless statements that might sound passionate and provoking, but actually are as thin as tissue paper.
Work on your vision and purpose, don’t put personality first. Put character – your vision, purpose and drive first. Then use your personality to show your character.
P.s. just so you can call my business purpose bullshit too “we help funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers.” What a crock of shit.