Today we find out what happens when you don’t hire a copywriter (small children and sensitive marketers may want to look away).

I just received this postcard in an envelope, delivered via US mail. It says:

Solvemedia brand puzzle

Not exactly the direct mail piece of the century.

 

I typed in what? Honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about. Or referencing. Or selling. Or want me to do.

I’ll bet you don’t either.

Sure, they ask me to get in touch. But then provide only a generic URL.

In other words, this is one confusing piece of marketing.

Out there somewhere is a marketing manager who needs a hug.

And a copywriter.

“This Stuff is Easy”

One of the traps of the digital age is the “anybody can do this stuff” thinking that pervades online media.

As we just learned, it’s not exactly true.

Have you ever read a journalistic report written by someone who is clearly not a journalist? Those pesky 5W’s (who, what, where, when and why) often get short shrift. Leaving the reader very confused.

The same is true in marketing. You really do need to know the basics to write response work.

This person didn’t. In this case, I’d suggest the writer couldn’t get out of their own head and into the head of their readers. The vast majority of which will end up like me (hopelessly confused).

Forecast: 80% Chance Of Scattered Confusion

This is not an isolated incident. The last couple years have found me arriving at the websites of online web service companies who have embraced minimalism to the point I can’t puzzle out exactly what they offer.

I’ve also been the recipient of numerous email pitches containing everything but a benefit, a clear description of the product, any demonstration of relevance, or a single compelling reason to respond.

As a copywriter, I can only marvel at the apparent death of the single descriptive sentence that sums up a company’s offering — and the descriptive paragraph that combines that sentence with a benefit or differentiator.

Has the online world secretly entered a new post-copywriting phase? Did I not get the memo?

Or are all the copywriters pounding out SEO articles while designers and programmers (or in this case, the interns) handle the copywriting?

Dumpster Diving For Clarity

I threw the postcard away, but when I started this post, dug it out of the garbage.

Turns out it refers to anti-spam captchas that ask you to type marketing information (like an organization’s tagline) instead of random letters.

Ahh.

I recently left a couple comments at AdAge, so it’s possible I did type in solvemedia’s “brand message.” It’s not a bad idea.

Still, direct mail doesn’t come cheap, so it’s a shame their postcard was more Sudoku puzzle than response-based sales piece.

Keep writing (intelligibly), Tom Chandler.