Way Too Direct Marketing

A somewhat euphemistic way of describing an individual who has no filter has always been “Oh…she’s very…direct.” And of course we mean something else when that is said. But I will submit to you that as we sit here in 2017, communications is evolving and a more direct communications approach is going to be the winner.

We’ve lived through “the spin years” where corporate communications just couldn’t be any more clever with the ways they said things. Making every first letter match up and finding three words of about the same length that start with the same letter — Whoohooo I can play around with the alphabet. Look at me! I am SOOOO clever! So much, in fact, that wikipedia has an entry for Marketing Speak and it says:

“Marketing speak is a related label for wording styles used to promote a product or service to a wide audience by seeking to create the impression that the vendors of the service possess a high level of sophistication, skill, and technical knowledge. Such language is often used in marketing press releases, advertising copy, and prepared statements read by executives and politicians”

LOL. There’s our legacy folks, right there. A bunch of BS language shoved into everything and used to promote and create the impression that the vendors know what they are talking about. I seriously hope it’s not too late to become a pro bass player. At least people respect that. …Drummers, not so much 🙂

WHY do marketers (and the people who employ them/us) think this is ok? I can think of a few reasons including:

  1. Lack of good teaching re: principles and practices of MODERN (not 10-15 years ago, but right now) marketing.
  2. Growing up in the corp world doing it and don’t see any reason to change because the emperor is wearing some FINE clothes!
  3. Audiences don’t push back loudly enough. For example, when Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, speaks anywhere, he is greeted by a hail of boos because NFL fans do not trust him and pretty much see through his many “prepared statements” through the years.
  4. Communicators don’t feel they have permission to speak any differently.

Now that last one is big. So right here, right now, I’d like to go ahead and give each of you permission to create direct and non-marketing-speak communications for your companies. Don’t make your stuff just sound good with the right “marketing sounding” flow, make it actually communicate something and connect with people and be about the things they need, not what you need to sell this month. That is the real job we’re supposed to be doing.

And I just hope that years from now, the wikipedia entry for Marketing Speak will say — Note: this practice was abandoned in the first part of the 21st century when marketers FINALLY woke up. Let’s do better out there!