And there you have about 90% of an average agency’s day. Frankly, I’m glad most agencies use such bland, empty words. They call it marketing. I call it job security. People scoff at puns and shun cliches, but I don’t think most businesses realize that using listless language is worse.

Clients and business owners, I beg you, please stop believing the rigmarole of useless benefits like fresh and local. Here’s what they really mean.

Fresh- not from a can.
Do you really think we’re getting fresh mangos in Fargo-Moorhead? It’s impossible. Those ingredients are at least three days old before they hit the warehouse. And it’s the same for every business.
Gourmet- really expensive cans.

So maybe you can’t lower your prices to compete against the large, national chain. That doesn’t mean you have to say gourmet to justify your higher cost.

Local- If you’re here, that’s where you are.

Fargo-Moorhead has 200,000 people. That’s not a metropolis, but it’s big enough where mom and pop’s general store tactics fail. Furthermore, the market has spoken, we don’t care. The Fargo-Moorhead area boasts two Wal-Marts.

Quality- Gold star for you! Put it on your fridge.

Ask anyone if they think they do a good job, and nearly all of them will say yes. Business owners working 80+ hour weeks to develop a product don’t want to hear that quality isn’t a selling point, but it’s not. Maybe it was when an older generation held on to everything. We’re a disposable, one-use culture now.

Service- If you don’t help people. You don’t eat.

Really. Service? That’s your job. Using that selling point is a baker saying, “Come to my bakery because I use ovens.”

Friendly- But ugly as sin.

The Midwest has a reputation for being cordial. It’s plausible that I’m taking the term for granted. Even so, I expect to be treated with kindness when I enter an establishment. If I’m not, I remember the rudeness and hesitate to return. Employing nice people to work with the public should come standard like a steering wheel. It doesn’t entice anyone.

Reliable- Unless your Lassie or Flipper, we’re done here.

Will you pull me from the wreckage of a car crash? Will you fetch help when I fall in a well or will you simply not screw up? If you only answered yes to the latter, than congratulations for doing your job.-