Mirriam-Webster defines puffery as “exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes.”
As I mentioned earlier today, the manufacture of slogans and phrases are, unfortunately, central to traditional marketing theory, and I don’t sense that is about to change.
Mike Arrington says puffery is a recipe for being ignored.
For as long as I can remember, likely due to my mathematical approach to most things, I have been irritated by hype. Even my kids know that I call out for a footnote every time I hear an ad claiming to be “America’s number one” this and that. Not only do I ignore unsubstantiated claims, I mentally penalize the offender.
But I also know that my complaints are drowned out by decades of marketing where the lack of hype is seen as doubt. Lots of purchases are emotional ones, and a scientific study is less emotional that an authoritative voice telling you what to do.
So can we collectively demand a higher standard in the Web 2.0 space? Certainly Mike can as far as TechCrunch goes (and that’s not an insignificant hammer). Sending out a reconstituted and hype infested press release as an email seeking coverage is ineffective and disrespectful to the recipient.
I’m not selling anything, but if I were, here’s how I would approach bloggers and other web authorities. I’d simply tell them what my product does, factually and briefly state what distinguishes my product from other similar products, give them a link, and ask them to take a look. If I wanted to go into more detail, I’d put it onsite, in a guided tour or tutorial.
Oh, and I would avoid stupid, Web 2.0 sounding names, but that’s a topic for another post.
The winners and losers get separated for many different reasons. You only have one chance to get someone interested in your project- don’t blow it with bullshit.