Ivy League Words Belong in College Papers, Not Your Marketing Copy

EAG, September 2, 2014

an asian woman considers ivy league words on a blackboard

“The enterprise’s comprehensive array of services capitalizes on and incorporates best practices and solutions to leverage your assets to their fullest capacity stimulating growth and profits.”

Trying saying that five times fast. Better yet, read it five times and see if you can tell what the company really does. No telling – could be anything from IT services to restaurant management. It’s a prime example of website copywriting that is an epic fail. Yet the Web is full of content that strings a bunch of fancy words together, which is perfect if you’re showcasing your vocabulary prowess. Not so perfect if you’re trying to connect with potential customers.

Ivy League words and phrases may show you know your business. But even in the most formal corporate cultures, copy like our example above comes off as either pompous or vague. No one feels a connection with pompousness or vagueness. Worse, readers may have no clue what you are talking about.


The sentence is chock full of college words, but it’s void of emotion. It doesn’t attempt to pull the potential customer into an experience or a culture. What happens when marketing content ignores the customer’s experience? Nothing. You might as well be talking to yourself.

Writing marketing copy is the same thing as holding a personal conversation. When you take the time and effort to get to know the person’s interests, challenges, needs and wants, they take notice and appreciate the effort. Once you understand where they’re coming from, then you can position your services in a way that will draw them to you. Conversational copy can make you the life of the party – sales-wise.


Whether it’s website content, a print ad, content for a blog, a direct mail piece or billboard, be exciting, be relatable. Don’t be worried about showing your emotional side. Customers are human and humans respond to emotion. In order to prove you can solve problems, you have to show that you understand where they’re coming from first to gain credibility and trust.

Advertising pieces and sales pitches bombard business owners. Next time one really catches your attention, ask yourself why. Why did this particular piece move you to action, or at least think twice? Was it funny? Compelling? Emotional? Clever? Could be any number of reasons. But we’d bet good money that it didn’t read anything like our poor sentence above.

We ARE Your IT Department.
We don’t take up office space or leave food in the kitchen. We’re only there when you need us, fast on-site or by phone. You have your very own dedicated remote IT tech, no stranger to your systems and business.

This website content is ingenious (if we do say so ourselves, having written it). Rather than using a lot of technology-focused words, it focuses on customers and how the company relieves IT support stress. It’s not about the company, it’s about the customer. It is the quintessential example of using the “what’s in it for me?” approach, which is an oldie but a goodie because it works.

Only there when I need it? Sounds perfect? Knows my systems and how to fix them? Even better. Showing how you make things easier, more convenient, more efficient…that’s the goal of any marketing and advertising you do. When that message doesn’t come across, neither can the sale.


Texting, social media usage and the like have turned communication into a less formal affair. Customers want to be engaged in the conversation, not talked at. Your business has a personality. Let it come through your marketing copywriting with messages that touch a nerve and customers will respond with their business and loyalty.

It’s easy to feel “too close” to the business to differentiate between a meaningful conversation and what sounds like a sales pitch. Our forte is finding and using your company’s voice, creating content that is unique to your service and culture. If you need help finding yours, just let us know…


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