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Here’s a quick test to determine if your marketing sucks or not.

Scrape off the labels, names, and brands in your marketing collateral and see if you can tell if the company/product/service is still unquestionably you, or if it could be anyone at all – maybe not even in your industry.

Try it with a friend who you don’t do business with. Don’t tell them who the company is, just scrape off the labels and see if they can tell who the company is.

Let’s try it right now!

XYZ is a software technology company that enables high-quality voice and messaging services across multiple devices and locations over broadband networks. Our award winning technology serves approximately X million subscribers. We provide feature-rich, affordable communication solutions that offer flexibility, portability and ease-of-use.

Now take this quiz. Is this:

A. Skype
B. Verizon FIOS Telephone Service
C. Vonage

Do you know? Can you tell? Does it even matter?

Here’s another one:

XYZ is an industry-leading email service provider based in Someplace, Somewhere. Founded in 2001, for the past 7 years we have been assisting our clients with a combination of both service and technology solutions that help them maximize the email marketing channel. XYZ provides both full service and self service email marketing solutions to our global client base of over X. Our leading web based platform, X, is currently in its seventh release, bringing the latest leading feature set to our clients browsers. The latest release offers enhanced deliverability solutions, detailed and customized reporting and analytics, and an easy to use intuitive user interface, all combined with leading customer service and support.

Is this:

A. Constant Contact
B. Exact Target
C. Blue Sky Factory

I don’t think you care. I certainly don’t. My eyes glazed over the moment I hit the words “industry leading”.

Last try.

XYZ ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the X and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the X. Today, X continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, X operating system and X and professional applications. X is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its X portable music and video players and X online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary X.

Is this:

A. Dell
C. Apple

Even with a lot of scraping and anonymization, there’s no question that this is Apple, Inc. If you can take your marketing collateral and remove the brand and product, and your identity STILL comes through, you’re doing it right. If you can just knock out your company name and no one has any idea what company it is, if they mistake you for your competitors, or if they can’t even tell what industry you are in, you’re in trouble. Go back and sharpen your pencil until your identity and culture shine through.

Oh, and for the quizzes, the answer was always C. We’ve since revamped Blue Sky Factory’s email service provider about page. It’s still a work in progress, though, so if you have suggestions for it, we’re listening 🙂

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