Effective Small Business Marketing (B)
What is the Junk in the Jargon? Should you always use acronyms?
Posted: Apr 2008
"Corporate speak" is everywhere. That doesn't make it a good thing. By corporate speak I mean such cryptic statements as "we help you achieve optimum enterprise performance, maximize efficiency through the value chain and leverage proven practices and integrated solutions to accelerate your business." Huh? This gobbledygook may make you sound smart, but do you want sound smart or be smart? Good marketing is clear. This stuff is anything but.
Many businesses fall prey to the siren song of corporate speak. It's tempting for a few reasons. For one thing, it's what they're used to seeing. What a waste of valuable marketing space.
For another thing, it shows off their impressive vocabulary, which many misguided businesspeople think is a way to position them as experts. Well, maybe "We utilize proprietary methodology to precisely identify, quantify and create a hierarchy within specific business acceleration opportunities," sounds impressive to some. But does it meet the company's primary marketing objective, which is to attract new clients?
What if the site said this instead:
Using proven investigative methods, we will help you:
Identify processes that are draining your resources
Define the changes necessary to reduce the drain
Design an action plan that offers the greatest benefit in the shortest time
Reduce waste, improve efficiency and raise profits
This second formula works because it's in simple language that everyone can understand quickly. It still sounds knowledgeable and professional, yet the bulleted layout is easy to understand. These are critical points in a world where you are competing for attention with not just your competitors, but a constant onslaught from incoming email, beeping Blackberries, ringing phones, 24-hour news sources droning in the background and endless opportunities for Internet surfing.
Here are few tips to help you clarify your message:
Junk the Jargon
Let your spouse or a friend who is not in your line of business read your marketing. If he or she can't grasp it quickly, simplify the message. And remember that terms that you're intimately familiar with will sound like a foreign language to many potential clients. Kaizen, Six Sigma, Hoshin Kanri, Lean. If you just can't resist the urge to include these terms, at least define them for your less-informed clients. They may be the ones with the greatest need and the deepest pockets.
Away with Acronyms
PVM, CRM, KPI, 3PL...your clients shouldn't need a secret decoder ring to understand who you are and what you do.
In marketing, less is always more. Be concise.
"As a corporate leader, it is imperative that you maintain constant contact with each member of your organization and maintain an open door policy to make your staff feel comfortable approaching you with questions, concerns and feedback to engender team spirit, enhance motivation and make everyone happier and more productive."
Can be boiled down to this:
"Maintaining open communication within and between staff on all levels of your organization will improve motivation and productivity."
Simple is not a dirty word. Deliver a clear, easy-to-understand message...and you will optimize the effectiveness of your marketing collateral and Web-based communications to maximize their impact on your target audience, which will pre-sell prospects and accelerate your ROI. Sorry, I couldn't resist.