"Wholesome Goodness," ...Whatever that means.

Stouffer's marketing department needs to invest in a thesaurus. 

Tonight, while watching one of the 30 episodes of Law and Order on my DVR, I was away from my remote when the commercial break came to pass.  It's been a while since I've actually watched a commercial.  In fact, since the invention of the DVR, the only time I've watched commercials is when the remote has somehow fallen between the cushions of the couch and I cannot find it, resulting in a frenzied search for the thing before I have to hear Luke Wilson try to spin AT&T as having good coverage.  (He's full of horse plops.)

In my search for the holy remote tonight, I had to hear about how Stouffer's makes families stronger by gathering them around the dinner table to eat meals full of, "Wholesome Goodness."  This statement elicited a derisive snort of disbelief from me, as I have several times eaten Stouffer's meals and I'll tell you right now that the ONLY thing they are full of is salt and preservatives, and possibly the same thing that Luke Wilson is full of.

The problem is words.  The English language is awesome at using a lot of words and sounding like there's a meaning in them, when in fact, there is nothing being said by them at all.  This is pretty prevalent in the world of food marketing.

  • Organic
  • Wholesome
  • Lite
  • Diet
  • Healthy
  • All Natural

The problem is, people are wising up.  It once was that you could slap two or three of those puppies on a box of terrible food, and not only would people buy it, but you could charge 30% more for it.  Anymore though, when I see the word "Healthy" on a box, I read the label.  It's NEVER healthy.  It might not be as bad for you as something else, but it's still not healthy.

What about us?  The words we use in our ads?  Granted, perhaps I've spent more time than most reading through countless ads on Craigslist and other ILS sites, but I can't tell you how many ads look just like the ad before them, and the ad before that one, and the ad before that one.  It's all the same.    Everyone uses the same words, and because of that, you're not distinguishing your product.  What's worse, I have visited some of the properties that I'm reading ads for, and your property is NOT what you're writing about.

If you're running out of words, don't use the same ones that everyone else is using.  Think of a different way to get your message out there, and actually use some words that MEAN SOMETHING!  After all, if your ad is the first contact that you have a potential new resident, why would you want to start out that relationship in the pretense of a lie, or what they might perceive to be a lie?

If you're not a wordsmith, and it's okay if you aren't, check out these resources:

Power Sales Words - Oliver
Words that Sell - Bayan

Both are excellent sources for descriptions of what you may have, and remember, should all else fail, Microsoft Word has a built in Thesaurus!

8 Seconds - Written for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine

Bigger isn't always better - Originally written for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine