Monday, April 05, 2010

Let's not oversell it.

When you are selling a modestly desirable product or service, the best thing to do is to list that product's advantages and then maybe make it look 10-20% more exciting than it really is. What you do not want to do is try to make it look 300-400% more exciting than it really is. A little more sexiness, a little more oomph sells your product - a lot more sexiness, a lot more oomph makes your ad seem mocking and sarcastic.

Exhbit A: "When I grow up I want to be a CERTIFIED MEDICAL CODER!"

There is nothing wrong with being a certified medical coder. It's a useful job with flexible hours and generous pay. Studying to be a certified medical coder is a reasonable professional decision for many people. But here's the thing: no child has ever said "I want to be a certified medical coder when I grow up!"

Most people have ordinary jobs that pay the bills and hopefully provide them some degree of daily satisfaction. Most people do not have dream jobs and that's fine. Certified medical coder is no one's dream job. But by mentioning that fact in your ad, you're basically reminding potential students of all the better things they once longed to do and that hardly seems like the best way to drum up enthusiasm for your school.

Exhibit B: Awesometown*.

(Thanks to Daily Billboard for this photo.)

Valencia is a planned community about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, most notably home to the Six Flags Magic Mountain** amusement park. And doubtless there are some nice things about living in Valencia: low crime, good schools, affordable housing, plenty of parking.

What Valencia is not, however, is awesome. No one thinks Valencia is awesome. And so by calling Valencia "AWESOMETOWN" all you are doing is reminding people how utterly ordinary Valencia really is.

*Also should be "Awesometowne."

**No connection to Thomas Mann.