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a recent Marketing
To Fudge or Not to Fudge
At a language-learning site I often visit, an entrepreneur
was trying to defend the marketing pitch for his purportedly
fantastic new app. He danced and pranced at length to
explain how "Learn 80% of Chinese in 3 months" could be
A consensus emerged among long-time members of the site that
at best, the slogan was highly misleading and at worst,
nonsensical hype. One critique demonstrated why 80 percent
comprehension in language learning is actually poor. For
"That's two out of every ten _____ that are _____."
It's the 20 percent missing words there that indicate the
real meaning, the critic said, and if that's as far as
you've gotten, you're barely out of the gate. You're not
amazingly near the finish line at all.
My takeaway: If you need paragraph after paragraph of
convoluted reasoning to explain how your marketing slogan is
true, you're being unfair to prospective customers. If you
know in your heart of hearts that your promises take
advantage of hopeful, naive individuals, pause. Reconsider.
With a great product or service, after all, you don't need
to hoodwink people.
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- La Vanguardia newspaper,
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Shorter: Marcia's Mantras, a
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