Are You Making the HYPErbole Mistake?

Are You Making the HYPErbole Mistake?
Jamie Lee Wallace - Thu Nov 05, 2009 @ 03:36AM
Comments: 13

You know that B2B consumers are a notoriously just-the-facts-ma'am kind of audience. Unlike B2C consumers who are frequently persuaded to purchase based on a catchy jingle, cute logo, or the endorsement of their favorite Hollywood actress; B2B buyers expect to be courted. The typical B2B purchase is not an impulse buy, so they want the chance to get acquainted gradually. They are not distracted by a pretty face; they want to get to know the inner you. They need in-depth information that proves you are who you say you are before they will commit to anything beyond the first date.

Despite knowing this, B2B marketers still fall into the hyperbole trap.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary (fourth edition), hyperbole is "a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year..." Unless we're talking about a coma situation, no one sleeps for a year, right? Hyperbole is intentionally unbelievable and not meant to be taken seriously. It's meant to make a big statement, not deliver actual facts.

Although it can be used to great effect in advertising, creating a lasting image in the consumer's mind, hyperbole also brings inherent risk in the form of a "buyer's blind spot." Inundated as we are with the unbelievable claims of people trying to sell us products and services, hyperbolic statements tend to become invisible. We filter them out as "noise." We've heard so many wild promises and statements of best, fastest, cheapest, most reliable, etc; seeing those words triggers a temporary blindness.

Falling into the use of hyperbole is not difficult. After all, you probably believe that your widget IS the best, fastest, cheapest, and most reliable. Why wouldn't you want to shout it from the rooftops? Even if you do - don't. Remember that hyperbole often becomes invisible. Instead, give prospects something they can really sink their teeth into. Tell them stories (as in case studies) that illustrate the benefits of your product in concrete ways. Share customer testimonials that lend credibility to your claims of superiority. Provide factual data textually and visually to support your statements. Offer side-by-side comparisons with competitors to highlight areas where your product or service really shines. Create an ongoing dialog and offer useful information through a blog, newsletter, or other serial content. Don't be the stereotypical ladies' man, spouting pick-up-line promises that make your prospects roll their eyes. Be the guy who gets the girl's phone number because he didn't overstate his promise, because he was someone she could take seriously.

The bottom line: If you're going to make a hyperbolic, or even superlative, statement; make sure you can back it up. Even better, skip the hype and just go for the facts. Your prospects will appreciate the direct approach.

Image Credit: enimal

Comments: 13


1. Neil Stoneman  |  my website   |   Thu Nov 05, 2009 @ 04:04AM

Some good points but any examples of hyperbole at work? Would be good to see where you're inspiration comes from.

2. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Fri Nov 06, 2009 @ 09:13AM

Neil - Thanks for visiting and for your interest in additional details. Sorry for my delayed response - I've been doing my best Florence Nightingale routine on the couch with my Kindergartner for the last 48 hrs. Welcome to the flu season, right?

I'm afraid I can't provide any specific examples. I made a quick note of the subject in my idea file a while ago and I'm afraid I've lost track of the original inspiration. I'm glad you find the points valid even without exact illustration. I'm sure my high school grammar teacher would debate my flexible definition of hyperbole, but I think the point of HYPE falling into the black hole of "noise" is one everyone can relate to.

Thanks again for coming by!

3. Neil Stoneman  |  my website   |   Tue Nov 10, 2009 @ 06:44AM

Cheers. No worries, I know where you're coming from.

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