I got this email blast from Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp:

Dear Colin Campbell, please Dr Ferenc Borondics, Principal Beamline Scientist at the SIMS Beamline, Soleil Synchrotron, France to hear about how cutting edge IR spectroscopic tools, such as the breakthrough technique of Optical Photothermal Infrared (O-PTIR) is being used by users from a wide range of application areas, many of these based on recent publications in high impact factor journals

This company is so above the earthbound constraints of normal grammar that they don’t have to put periods at the ends of sentences.

Nor are they bound by fussy rules like subject-verb agreement: “cutting edge tools…is being used.”

And unlike those of us constrained to use only active- or passive-voice verbs, they indulge in the imperative voice: Colin, please Dr. Ferenc Borondics!

I don’t know how I can please him.

This is a company I encountered a few months before the onset of the Pandemic. I met their marketing graphics guy at a meeting of the Santa Barbara Lean Startup Circle. I looked at the company’s web presence and emailed some suggestions to their head honcho. Over the years they’ve followed some of my suggestions but  they’ve never replied to me. Somehow I’m still on their email list.

I ran into the marketing graphics guy recently and he told me
he’s been using my suggestions as passed along to him by the director.
But there is zero budget for actually engaging me to do any work for

Just like every tech company out there, they have a breakthrough product! And it is therefor your DUTY to buckle down and do the due diligence to discover what the heck they’re talking about. And they’re not going to dilute their message by forcing it into comprehensible standard English.

This is the kind of company where I could swiftly make them stand out from the crowd. It’s not because I know anything about infrared microscopy, it’s because I can see that their message is an illiterate jumble of equivocation and prevarication.

They believe that their breakthrough is so important that it is beneath them to explain what it is. It “is being used by users from a wide range of application areas,” and that’s all you need to know. A completely generic claim. 

They’ve done all the work for you by calling it O-PTIR. Anybody with a minimum level of brains should be able to infer the entire technological quantum leap contained in and summarized by that acronym. O-PTIR: buy now!

Throughout the various tech industries I see this same attitude. Marketing departments think their technical writers can handle the task. Nobody else knows their product well enough. If you don’t instantly comprehend the value of O-PTIR, you’re not the kind of person who is going to be our customer. Therefore, they don’t have to explain their product to anybody. And so their marketing text doesn’t have to make a lick of sense.

As a technical copywriter, I could make half a dozen routine copywriting changes to their email that would dramatically improve their response rate. But they apparently don’t care whether people respond.