Generic Marketing Bullshit

How many times have you seen cool looking, yet very generic pictures and text on websites? I for sure see it often, generally on B2B sites. If I was to get a penny every time someone read the word “cloud” on marketing copy for any website, I’d put Bill Gates to shame with my philanthropy. Are all those people who write or approve the buzzy copy morons? Not usually. I have done that myself more than a few times (I am usually on border line of moronity). The problem I see is that while working on our products we lose touch with the end customer. We get influenced by competitors and end up believing that our customers want to read/hear the buzz words, we’ll look smarter if we add “cloud” to our marketing copy. And oh, there is always that SEO – the divine power that requires the sacrifices of simplicity and user experience.

Yesterday I was looking at The Resumator – a service that helps “Make Great Hiring Decisions Faster”. Wow, I always wanted to make great hiring decisions faster. I can “Discuss, rank and track job applicants efficiently with The Resumator.” sweet! I have already spent about 10-15 seconds on the site and I try to find how are they going to do all these great things for me? Do they have a pool of candidates that I can just send my job post to? How does it really work? I have seen several other companies trying to leverage social connections to source candidates and few other ones that host the job listing page and give me credits for passing resumes of candidates I don’t select. Is it like those? Filled with all these and a lot more questions, my eyes go down to a graphic on the page. Graphics are best, they tell you everything about a service within a few seconds. I start reading it.

The Resumator

The Resumator

I first publish the job, promote it, then grow my applicant pool and finally hire! This is great, but wait…wouldn’t I do this if I was using Craigslist or LinkedIn? Still not sure how and what they will help with. They have a bunch of text and links below, don’t really feel like reading it. Then I spot logos of a few companies I admire. This helped me not close the window, but give it another chance….I scroll up. I see the button ‘Request Demo’ bring my mouse to it and click it….praying that it is a label error and the click will lead me to a demo of the application. My worst nightmare comes alive when I see the dialog box asking for my name, job title, company email and phone number with a promise of scheduling with me a guided tour ASAP. People who know me also know how variable my ASAP is. Judging them by my own standards, I don’t think I want to take on that offer.

I then remembered that usually B2B startups have 2-3 other links in the header like plans & pricing, etc. I got lucky that I found a “Tour” link. On clicking that link, I see the same graphic as homepage (see above) and some text, I check my browser’s address bar to make sure if I actually clicked and landed on the tour page. I don’t know what to do….I click on the first heading which looks exactly like the other text hoping it is a link.

I get to this page. I click on the tiny screenshots, but guess what they are not clickable. They are there just to tease people. After reading the next line “Turn your resumes into a searchable database.” I feel like I have found the holy grail of the website. This was my aha! moment. I Scroll down a bit and read some stuff, try to click more teasing pictures and get another aha moment reading “Send personalized, automated messages.” It took more more than a minute to understand what a couple of things they offer. I am sure, there are more features hidden inside the page that I never got to.

I am not trying to pick on this specific company (which I actually did), but the intention here is to have this post as a reminder for me and others to make things easier for the end users. Now that I know a bit about theresumator and that other great companies use them, I’ll most likely end up using them. I do want to mention a couple of companies which I think do a kick ass job at product demos are InDinero and ChartBeat.

Do you know about other companies that either do good job with their sites or worse? Please post in the comments.

PS: We are hiring.

You should follow me on Twitter at @gsharma.
  • Amitkp23

    i like the way you article is basically a narrative of what i encounter many times when looking for a new service or product i have little knowledge existed. small things that look appealing(names i trust) keep me from touching that X. I encourage more companies to dummy down their front end approach and make avail key information points that sets them apart for the competitors in either services provided or cost/value ratio. And do not publish your site if any of your links do not work, that is just not professional, take 1 more day at it. just a thought