Overused, confusing or non committal jargon can put up a barrier between you and your target market. The importance of effective communication for lead generation is one area of marketing missed by a lot of companies. And as such can be a way for your brand to shine by doing it right.
What’s wrong with gobbledygook?
What do the words, “Robust”, “Next generation”, “Cloud based” and “Easy-to-use” mean to your users? Easy to use according to who?
Vague terminology like the above are open to the users interpretation. Some people view ‘Professional’ as wearing a suit, how a person speaks, the size of the company, the building they work in, how they provide service, etc. The problem here is what you say is so vague that it will never get across the actual meaning you want it to have.
As an Inbound Marketing agency one of the first questions we ask is “Who is your ideal customer?”. A lot of people respond with “Everyone”. With the market to everyone mindset you end up creating bland content that fits everyone but excites no one and end up having to fill it will corporate jargon to fluff it up. People want to do business with companies that they’re important to, who understand their needs and speak directly to them.
Can seem condescending, confusing and alienate people
How can your audience take you seriously if they don’t understand you? People aren’t stupid and we should never speak to them as if they are. It’s important to speak to your users like normal people. How often do you find yourself using words like “Cutting Edge” or “Scalable” when talking in person?
People are not going to your website to be talked at or to know how great you are. They want to know what problem(s) you can solve for them. Online communication has influenced language and encourages users to be more concise with their content. People can do their research comfortably without being sold to and it’s easier to leave your website and go to another website than to leave one shop and go to another.
Lacks a consistent brand voice & personality
It’s important to have a clear and consistent brand voice & personality. Whilst it is importance to speak your market’s language you still need your brand to have it’s own personality and voice in the conversation. People buy from people and are turned off by sales type lingo.
Reuters caused staff to be “transitioned out of the company”, while other businesses “disestablished” or even “completed” roles. But the winner is HSBC, which “demised” about 900 of its managers. In doing this it has invented a euphemism that is harsher than the real thing. It made it sound as if it was not merely sacking staff but exterminating them.
Source, BBC Jargon Awards
Some people love speaking in jargon, using fancy words and turning everything into acronyms. Personally, I find this simply slows things down, confuses people and causes them to lose interest. It’s far better to use a simple term and commonplace words that everyone will understand, rather than showing off and annoying your audience.
Source, Richard Branson
Baffling people with the technical specifications about megabytes, gigahertz, latest processors, etc. is not helping anyone. Think about how Apple market their products so successfully. They sell the results and benefits of using their products. Their TV ads show how Siri can help you cook or reschedule a meeting just by talking to it.
The iPad mini: “A ton of advanced technology. Less than half a kilo.”
The Macbook: “New high performance technologies. Together they make quicker work of everything”
First iPod in 2001: “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
They don’t talk about all of the advanced technologies that goes into making it work because none of us actually care about that anyway. Apple sell us what matters to us and speak our language.
So how does my brand shine?
Choose your words wisely
The words you use also say a lot about how you view your business, your customers and what you sell. Words that have a more positive and descriptive style are best. Of course the words must still be used in context, be relevant to your ideal customer and not thrown in as more jargon.
- Market -vs- ENGAGE
- Professional -vs- PASSIONATE
- Easy-to-use -vs- INTUITIVE
A buyer persona is when you slice your marketplace into individual groups of people. For instance, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel, you might have five buyer personas: an independent business traveler, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception. When running marketing campaigns, you will need to adapt your messaging to fit the needs of these different buyer personas.
To communicate effectively, you need to need to strike a happy balance between speaking your market’s language and maintaining your own brand’s personality. The most effective way to understand your ideal customers is by establishing clear buyer personas.
A set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. A brand personality is something to which the consumer can relate, and an effective brand will increase its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits. This is the added-value that a brand gains, aside from its functional benefits. There are five main types of brand personalities: excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence and sophistication.
An effective way of establishing rules of communication is with a brand persona so all departments of your business are on the same page.