Why do so many organizations make their business value messaging so incomprehensible to the very audience that they’re trying to attract?
Large or small, global or local, companies continue to fill their websites, presentations and other collateral with text that probably impresses their CEO, or their peers. But epically fails to resonate with the people who (should) matter most: their customers.
All this MBA Newbie talk of “zero-sum-based processes”, “robust metrics” and “value-added infomediaries” may well make you think that your company is bigger and cooler than it actually is. However, the fact is that prospective customers mentally switch-off from such language faster than you can say “Business Prevention Officer.”
So why do they do it? Because it’s easier – and less scary – than the alternative.
It’s easier to hide behind jargon and acronyms than to describe yourself in human terms. It’s easier to embellish, obfuscate, and spin; than it is to open yourself up to the possibility dislike, scorn, or ridicule.
Marketing Is Service
Many brands have never felt the need to articulate their values and proposition in human terms, because they’ve never had to. They kept selling and customers kept buying. But now that the customer is in a position of control regarding the buying transaction, business communication must evolve. Marketing has evolved from product, to service. All this makes companies very uncomfortable.
The result, as we see time and time again, is a disconnect between brands and their audiences. On the one hand businesses know they have to better connect and engage with their audiences. On the other, they want to play their cards close to their chest. The fact of the matter is that you can have it one way, or the other. You can’t have both.
Simple Is (More) Effective
Study after study shows that people prefer simplicity. Less really is more. Yet it seems that companies continue to try to outdo each other by seeing how many five-syllable words they can shoehorn into a seven-line sentence.
Keep it short. Keep it sharp. Keep it Fisher Price simple. Don’t try to say too much, and whatever you do say should be communicated using your customer’s vocabulary – not your own.