Over the years, I've been exposed to thousands of marketing messages--on websites, in press releases, during conferences, and over the phone. Because such messages tend to be full of BS, I've compiled a list of the most common marketing lies and what companies really mean when they tell them. Here are my ten favorites:

  • Lie: "Our products are [cutting-edge, leading-edge, bleeding-edge]."
  • Truth: "This is a beta release that we're hoping you'll debug for us."
  • Lie: "Our products are [state-of-the-art, third generation, web-capable]."
  • Truth: "We have products but no idea why you'd want to buy them."
  • Lie: "We will exceed your expectations."
  • Truth: "We can't because we just raised them with this stupid remark."
  • Lie: "We want to be your partner not just your provider."
  • Truth: "We want to lock in your account to keep competitors out."
  • Lie: "We developed our product with your business objectives in mind."
  • Truth: "We're praying that we have something you think you need."
  • Lie: "We are the industry leader."
  • Truth: "We know this is a meaningless claim, but it sounds cool."
  • Lie: "Our products are [extraordinary, excellent, unique]."
  • Truth: "We have no idea how to quantify the benefits of buying."
  • Lie: "We provide 360 degree service."
  • Truth: "When you call, you end up running around in circles."
  • Lie: "We provide world-class customer service."
  • Truth: "When you call, the service tech will barely speak English."
  • Lie: "We have the lowest cost of ownership."
  • Truth: "Our product is massively overpriced."

Readers: Do you have any favorites that you'd like to share with me?