FLUFF is one of my pet peeves. Why use complicated words that add up into phrases that mean nothing? Words like leverage, easy, flexible, scaleable, secure, ROI, TCO. They demonstrate lack of subject knowledge and discourage the target audience from reading these documents / web sites / blogs.
Here is an example I just found on a web site of a well known vendor. "...(product) is the foundation for the CIO's and IT leadership team's performance system. It features a cascaded optimization system, the industry's deepest and broadest insight into IT-controlled assets, and a secure, comprehensive, operational environment for a hybrid world."
What? A "hybrid world?" Wasted words. I counted 19 words that are just fluff and mean nothing. Wasted space. Wasted time and budgets. There are better and more practical ways of writing marketing materials that people understand and read. My suggestions are below:
1. Know your audience. Understand who exactly is your audience. Which industry? What is the main function of your target reader? What are their pressures and challenges? What are their titles and reporting structures? Their internal customers. Demographics. Internal politics, etc.
2. Understand the lingo your audience uses. Talk to your customers directly. Ask how are they using your product. Don't assume you know the words they use. For example, you would fail if you used "IT words" with process engineers in Electric Power companies. When marketing cyber security to Power and Energy, we had to change about 80% of our marketing materials. But the results were amazing - almost every IT department we contacted, wanted to talk to us. Even at the meetings, we were treated like peers rather than vendors.
3. Simplify. Read what you wrote out loud. Pretend you are presenting in person to your target audience. Keep on rewriting until the text flows easily and you would have no problem verbally presenting it.
4. Be brief. Less is more. Remember, the goal of most marketing materials is not to close the deal, but rather get the prospect interested enough to contact sales or try the product. Longer texts tend to discourage busy viewers from reading.
5. Avoid fluff. Avoid generic words, like flexible or leverage. Try quantifying or using proof points. For example, "the industry's deepest and broadest insight into IT-controlled assets" is fluff. However, something like, "a system covering 95% of the industry's IT-controlled assets" is much more credible and easier to understand.
6. Test. Most of us, marketers, don't work in the functional area of our target buyers. It may be a good idea to test the text with your target audience. This can be a very revealing exercise. In my experience, this step has revealed some gems that turned into new marketing tools and lead generation approaches that we never knew existed. For example, from our customer conversations we discovered an IT community called Spiceworks, that turned out to be one of the best lead generation sources for SMB markets.