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Marketing pet peeve of mine: someone who has to append the word cool (or its variants) to any marketing effort.

  • Share this cool video!
  • Tell your friends about this cool product!
  • Try our fun new service!

Cool, in the sense of being popular, is a rigidly one-way label. Nothing you ever do is cool. Nothing you ever say is cool. Only other people can judge you to be cool, fun, awesome, amazing, trendy, hip, wicked, or some other adjective.

So why do so many marketers insist on using these terms in relation to their own products? I suspect it’s because they fear if they don’t try to set the initial tone of conversation about their product or service, the wisdom of the crowd will apply a very different label, like “same old crap” or boring, unoriginal, uninteresting, bland, or depressing.

So what’s a marketer to do? How do you define a product without resorting to slapping canned labels onto your products, services, content, etc.?

Here’s an easy thing to try: gather up a small cadre of evangelists, the people who love you and talk about you without any prompting on your part. These are the folks who retweet you all the time and are not on your payroll in any way, shape, or form. Chances are if you’re legitimately good at what you do, they’re your best customers, too. These folks love you, and they’re desperately hungry for more of anything you’ve got.

Take this strike team and give them sneak previews of whatever you’re trying to drive attention to. Give them exclusive access, early opportunities to test and give feedback, and then listen. Listen to the words they use. Listen to how they talk about whatever it is you’re launching. Ask to use their words, their testimonials, their everything when you go live with your product or service or whatever.

Doing this will accomplish three things. First, it will free your marketing department from having to try to define a product using tired old labels like cool and fun. Second, it will build ever increasing loyalty among your evangelists because they’ll get early access to everything. Third, if you listen and pay attention, your evangelists (if you give them permission to do so, and you should) will help to shoot down a horrific product launch before the general public sees it and lights you on fire.

If you’re really clever, your evangelists may even put a unique new spin on what you’ve created and help you to take that product, service, or content all the way to insanely great.

Now that’d be cool.

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