A brochure once caught my attention for cramming all the known business jargon know to humanity in one sentence. It was a craftily designed leaflet from a company that provides maintenance for lifts. On their business profile, they proudly released that they are a company that provides ‘end-to-end vertical transportation device solutions.’ What was that again? Oh…a company that services lifts.
In today’s business environment, we get exposed to a lot of jargon that goes over the ordinary person’s head. We often see such terms like ‘shifting paradigms,’ ‘leveraging people capital,’ ‘managing expectations,’ or ‘breaking down silos’ without actually having an idea of what they mean.
I once read an email that said: “Free super saver delivery is an example of our obsession for new innovations innovating on behalf of our customers.” Too much jargon in one email. It could’ve easily just included words such as ‘creative’ or ‘inventive.’ It really is tempting to sound fancy by using complex words.
The main concern about business jargon is that while most people in an industry are exposed to them and most probably use them in everyday conversations, they don’t really say anything useful or concrete. Funny thing is, most materials that are meant to be distributed to the customers contain these industry jargon. Therefore, all the time and energy crafting these brochures, flyers, websites, tweets, (the list goes on), are wasted because they come out as uninteresting to their target: the customers.
We may want to sound really impressive and important by throwing around these big words. We may want to sound like our company’s the expert when it comes to the industry; but there are two very big dangers in using business jargon. First, people will most likely not understand or misinterpret what your organization actually does. Second, customers might entirely ignore your proposition as they would think ‘yeah right’ or ‘I’ve heard that before.’
In order to avoid this trap of using too much jargon, there are three things that a business owner should always remember when crafting marketing materials.
First, always remember to explicitly show the customers what your product’s selling point is. If there’s a specific feature or benefit that your customers need to know, explain it in terms that regular Joes and Janes would understand. Also, don’t forget to cite examples of how this certain product has benefited other customers. Make your product presentation closer to the heart of your targeted customers by proving that your product works, not just by telling them it does.
Another thing to remember is to always take on a mindset that you’re in a face-to-face conversation with all your customers. Nothing beats marketing materials that talk to you. Materials that seem aloof thru the use of jargon will seem uninteresting and boring.
Finally, and most importantly, ask yourself if your mom can understand your product pitch. If you think she can’t, then go back to the drawing board. There’s probably a word or two there somewhere that you need to change.