The Power of Words


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Our world is created with the words we use to describe it. This idea is the anchor of the creation story in the Book of Genesis that refers to the creation of the world of our conscience, not the Universe of physical objects. This idea is also at the foundations of Neurolinguistics and Neuro-Liguistic Programming.

Regardless of what your personal feelings are about organized religions or psychotherapy theories and practices, it is hard to argue that the words we use “color” our perceptions of reality. This concept is well understood and actively practiced in the fields of Marketing Communications and Politics to make us buy things we don’t need and vote for ideas we don’t share. I could provide a good number of examples that illustrate how politicians and marketers brainwash and manipulate us into actions that are not congruent with our core beliefs and values, but this would only provoke a number of angry comments, and we all are well aware of these anyway.

This post is about a different, more enlightened tack of using words for marketing communication—not to manipulate consumers to buy something they would never do without the manipulation, but to describe the qualities, features, and value of a product with words that naturally resonate with targeted consumer segments.

This approach differs from traditional marketing of shouting because it is not guaranteed that the loudest shouter sells the most products. It uses market intelligence distilled from customer reviews. Here are the steps:

  1. People who bought your products, happy with their purchase, and advocate your products to other consumers are your target market segment, whether they conveniently fit with your original plans for demographics or persona or not. I am not suggesting abandoning segmentation planning during new product development process. It is a critical step, but it is based on assumptions. Therefore, after the launch, it would be silly to ignore the reality.
  2. Listen and learn how these people experience your product or service. What are the most important features or attributes of their experience? Learn the words, expressions, and tonality they use to describe them. The emotions your product advocates experience enjoying your product would likely resonate with people like them.
  3. Revise your product marcom collateral to leverage the words and expressions you have learned from the happy customers to communicate value of your product more effectively to your target segment.

This method would only work if you do have a product that makes someone happy. And this is why it is not a manipulation.

In practical terms, you have to have a product or service that makes many people happy before you can benefit from this practice. Our clients use Opinion Miner® software to analyze hundreds or thousands of customer reviews to distill statistically meaningful number of words and expressions that could be used to produce measurably more effective copy of marketing communication. However, the software can only help you to sell a good product better, but if the product you sell does not make many people happy, it can help to learn why consumers choose to buy similar products from your competitors.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gregory Yankelovich
Gregory Yankelovich is a Technologist who is agnostic to technology, but "religious" about Customer Experience and ROI. He has solid experience delivering high ROI projects with a focus on both Profitability AND Customer Experience improvements, as one without another does not support long-term business growth. Gregory currently serves as co-founder of, the software (SaaS) used by traditional retailers and CPG brand builders to create Customer Experiences that raise traffic in stores and boost sales per customer visit.


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