“You deserve it!” is the catch-cry of marketers the world over. Whether selling moisturiser, credit cards, holidays, lipsticks or breakfast cereals. It appears that “deserving it” is the holy grail promise.

But isn’t this just lazy marketing?

Promising your audience that they deserve to buy something may get them over the line to purchase. But it also encourages the worst in people, while creating a chasm between those deserving and those not. Is that what you want to be perpetuating?

What I’m due

When we tell people that they “deserve” certain things, such as lipstick, we’re confusing aspirational consumerism with human rights. We’re perpetuating the myth that people are due things such as glamorous holidays, expensive clothing, generous credit card limits.

Last I checked, we are due water, shelter, food, the right to life and liberty. Last I checked, holidays weren’t a human right (shame.)

Who’s unworthy?

Who is worthy of the good stuff in life? Those who are working hard, doing the “right thing”, fitting into society’s narrow view of normal.

And who’s not worthy? Those who can’t afford the product. Those who have other priorities for spending their money. Those who aren’t deserving.

It’s easy to pull jargon from thin air, slap it on your marketing and hope for the best. Look deeper.

Know the baggage of the language to wield it wisely

All language has baggage. As business owners, we can use language to pluck the heart-strings of emotion, to communicate nuance and to be distinct and memorable.

I’m not against using emotionally laden language – language is a powerful arsenal. Persuasion is what marketing does. But it’s important not to grab the nearest popular phrase. First, first understand its baggage so you can communicate what you intend to. Because marketing acts as a magnet – and you want to pull the right people.

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