Star Trek Movie Reveals Marketing Lesson

by Tim Francis on June 11, 2013

In this episode you’ll learn one simple marketing tipinspired by the new Star Trek movie – that’ll make you far more persuasive in your copywriting.

You can read this blog post by scrolling down.

Or if you prefer to listen, simply hit the play button…

Marketing Lesson from Star Trek

Now we all know copy is king – it’s the foundation of marketing and advertising.  Without persuasive words that sell, businesses end up with lame ads that lose money.

On the other hand, the stronger your copy gets, the more your phone will ring with new prospects and your bank balance will sing with new sales.

What This Marketing Lesson Teaches You

So today’s episode is brief, and it’s super easy use in your own marketing and advertising.

In fact, within moments of finishing this lesson you’ll be delighted when give you my quick tip a shot and see just how effective it is.  I’m certain you’ll instantly see how much easier your copywriting is to read, watch, and/or listen to.

And – to be clear – today’s lesson applies everywhere you’re using words to persuade – on your website, in your Google Ads, print ads, blog posts, scripts for videos and audio… heck, even Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

So what’s the lesson?  In short…

Get Rid of Your “Spock Talk”

Last night I saw the new Star Trek movie.

Going into the movie I knew nothing about Star Trek.  I knew William Shatner was the original “Captain Kirk”, and I’d heard the line “Beam Me Up Scotty” in other movies and TV shows.

Last night when the movie started, I was instantly annoyed with how Spock spoke.  He’s hard to listen to because he’s so wordy, and he was hard to understand because he used such advanced, academic language.

No kidding – right there in the movie theatre I nearly pulled out my iPhone dictionary just to look up some of the words he used.

What a Hassle Listening to Spock Speak!

Now I’m probably more sensitive to it than most because marketing is what I do for a living.

As a marketer I need to win every single moment of a prospect’s attention.  I can’t risk being difficult to understand, and I sure as hell don’t have the benefit of a two-and-a-half hour movie to win someone over.

In my world it’s literally a second-by-second struggle.  I need to do everything in my power to make a prospect say YES over and over again – on all their tiny little decisions along the way – until it all adds up and they make their decision to purchase.

As my fellow marketer, I’m sure you know what I mean.

So the bottom line of today’s lesson is…

Write Concise, Easy-to-Understand Copy

This means really simple grade four English.

After I got home from the movie, I started looking online for info on Spock as his character has evolved from 1966 (when Star Trek first appeared)  until today.  Turns out his speech has always been this wordy and this clunky too.

Translating Spock-ish to En-glish

I Googled some Spoke quotes and this came up:

“I intend to assist in the effort to reestablish communication with Starfleet.”

Goodness gracious, the guy’s taking 12 words to make his point when all he needs is 5.

Why not say:

“I’m going to call Starfleet.”

Isn’t that so much more pleasing to listen to, and a hell of a lot more encouraging to keep listening and reading?

As for the advanced, academic language… in the 2013 movie – which I just watched last night – Spock says something like:

“No I’m not actually sad.  As a Vulcan I do not actually experience emotion.  I was just stating something in your vernacular in hopes of communicating in a way favourable to your method of thinking.”

WHAT?  According to WritingTester.com, it scores Grade 8.

Let’s bring the language down to where it should be:

“I’m not actually sad.  I’m Vulcan so I don’t feel emotion.  I was just using your language so you’d understand.”

From 35 words down to 20.  Nearly half!

And wasn’t that so much nicer to read?

When I read it out loud I don’t feel discouraged or confused.  Nice and simple, clear and empowering.  WritingTester.com scores it Grade 4, which is exactly the level we want – Grade 4… or 9 years old.

Frustrated Readers LEAVE

When your audience – readers, viewers, listeners – have to work too hard to read and/or understand what you’re trying to say, they get discouraged, they get frustrated, they get intimidated…. and they LEAVE.

The back button on a browser is way too easy to click these days.  The “delete” button is way too easy to hit in email programs.  And if a prospect is reading your ad in a newspaper or magazine, my goodness, it’s one quick flick of the wrist and you are DUST to your prospect.

So do yourself a favour…

Ditch the Spock Talk!

Get rid of the “Spock Talk” in your ads and such.

Bring the language way down.

And adjust your copy so it’s just the exact length it needs to be to make your point – no longer, no shorter.  Just the exact number of words needed… and get rid of any repetition where you’re saying the same thing more than once.

Try using a writing tester: http://www.writingtester.com/tester/grade_level.php

Live long and prosper,

Tim :)

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