Where to feature the good (and bury the bad) in your message
"Although Fred beats his dog, he is a good guy."
What do you take away from this sentence?
Most readers conclude that while Fred may have his flaws, he is essentially a good person.
Now try: "Although Fred is a good guy, he beats his dog."
With this simple change in sentence structure, Fred's deep-down goodness becomes ... irrelevant.
Why? Because people typically look to the end of a sentence for its take-away message. Which means if you have good and bad news (or important and unimportant selling points), you avoid placing the bad/unimportant stuff at the end.
Now that you know this, you understand why version #2 of the following is more effective:
Our product offers a far better value overall, even though it initially costs more.
Even though our product initially costs more, it offers a far better value overall.
For more on Fred and his dog, read The Sense of Structure, by George Gopen.
Just for Fun
Ask a graphic designer for a "lost cat" flyer
Are some of your projects like this? Click for a series of emails between an anguished cat owner and a willful designer.
In a Word
"Designed to" add minimal value
"This study is designed to serve as a benchmark for organizations like yours to compare ..."
The use of "designed" adds minimal value and makes the sentence wordy. Why is it any better that a product or service was intended to do what it does? Do some prospects suspect that this happened inadvertently?
Shorter and more forceful: "This study serves as a benchmark for organizations like yours to compare ..."
Lively Writing, on Time and on Target
When your message needs to engage and persuade, be sure to approach it from the Write Angle. Udi Shorr writes marketing and sales-training presentations for live audiences, video, print, and the Web. You benefit from years of marketing experience with Fortune 500 clients.