Journey Journal: The most powerful marketing word
by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director
It’s lunchtime. A hectic marketing agency breathes a collective sigh.
In the break room, an art director, content writer, account executive and programmer are gathered around the electronic glare of the microwave.
As everyone waits patiently for some frozen pizza to thaw, an intriguing discussion breaks out. Let’s listen in.
Account executive: We had our status call this morning, and our client Jennie was in a strangely philosophical mood. You’ll never guess what she asked me.
Art director: Oh, I don’t know. Something involving the nature of the universe, free will and a tree falling in the woods.
Account executive: No, I didn’t mean that type of philosophy. We were talking about our professional philosophies and Jennie wondered, “What’s the most powerful word in marketing?”
Programmer: Ooh. Good question. And what did you tell her?
Account executive: I said the most powerful marketing word is “free.” Everybody knows that. If you give something away, people will respond. Nothing beats the word “free” for generating interest.
Content writer: Sorry, but I can’t say that I totally agree.
Account executive: Seriously? Then enlighten me…what marketing word is more powerful than free?
Content writer: “You.”
Account executive: Excuse me?
Content writer: “You” is the most powerful word in marketing. And in this case, the term “you” represents the target audience. Think about it. Our best work captures the target’s perspective…
Account executive: That’s true…
Content writer: …And it’s the reason why my content is never focused on “we,” meaning the brand or company. Instead, I’m always talking to “you,” the customer. That way, we get into your goals…pain points…interests. In short, it’s all about you. So that’s my most powerful marketing word.
Art director: Nice. And you’re right, “you” is huge. But I’d actually go with a different word.
Programmer: And your all-powerful marketing word is…
Art director: …My mantra is “design.”
Content writer: That figures. A designer chooses design.
Art director: That’s right, because design is your best friend. It’s the rare sensibility that helps your words get noticed in the first place. Without clean design, content can be an intimidating wall of text. But if you can make the layout as compelling as the story, people will dive right in. They’ll read every word you write. That’s the power of design.
Content writer: I am indebted to you, o design diva. But we still haven’t heard from one person. And please, don’t tell us “programming” is the most powerful marketing word.
Programmer: Don’t worry, I won’t go there. To me, the ultimate marketing word is “trust.” In fact, it’s the difference between truly original work and dictation.
Account executive: What do you mean?
Programmer: Simply this: When you earn a client’s trust, they’ll get your best work. They’ll believe in you and your ideas…even when your thinking is a little “out there.”
That’s a major motivation.
Account executive: Hold on. You also mentioned something about dictation…
Programmer: Ahhh…that’s the dark side of the story. If trust is missing, the relationship can become pure dictation. The client tells you exactly what to do because you don’t have their confidence. Personally, I’m very happy our clients trust us.
Content writer: Let’s see…we have free…you…design…and trust. Bravo. All are excellent marketing words.
Art director: Yeah, but there’s still one that’s missing. “Lunch.” C’mon people, the pizza is ready.