Seven dirty words of foodservice marketing

Comedian George Carlin created the iconic list of the seven dirty words you can’t say on television. In honor of George, I’d like submit the seven words and terms you should never say in foodservice marketing.

Demonstrating the characteristics of these words with actions or anecdotes is highly encouraged.  In fact, use those actions to illustrate  underlying messages. But using the words themselves will often induce eye-rolling, snickers or boredom among your audience.

  • Revolutionary… odds are there are many competitive products that rival yours.  So, unless you’re a Syrian Freedom Fighter or have discovered something as transformational as electricity, you probably aren’t involved in any revolution.
  • Best… says who? If Forbes lists your company as one of the Best Places to Work, let Forbes say it… not you.
  • Solution… what, versus a broken combination of things?  Virtually every business provides a “solution” for something.  Customers are motivated when they hear stories that specify how you solve a specific problem or create an experience to which they relate.  Generic “solution” verbiage is simply boring.
  • Unique There are 59 synonyms for the word “unique.”  That should tell you something — even the word “unique” isn’t unique.  There isn’t much unique beyond your fingerprints and DNA!
  • World-class You might be part of a global mega company.  But does it really matter if your customer is in Topeka?  Your world-class processes probably don’t mean much in Topeka… any more than New Yorkers can relate to South Carolina sweet tea.
  • Innovative… who isn’t innovative and still in business?  All businesses are innovative at some level — otherwise they won’t be in business much longer (ask your local fax machine repairmen).  “Innovation” shouldn’t be confused with “yep, we’re continuing to evolve to stay competitive!
  • Lowest-priced… it’s more effective to be honest and say “we’re desperate for business, so you can name your own price. And that’s before we send you a coupon!”  Few people even believe Walmart when it says it has the lowest prices (otherwise, why would Walmart keep saying it?).

The bottom line is you should be proud of what you do… but don’t beat your chest. The humble display of your best characteristics is a genuine approach that your customers and prospects will appreciate.