We live in a world of noise and communications overload. Everyone communicates, and yet few of us actually connect at a meaningful level.
This is especially true in marketing. Think of all the jargon-laden, industry buzzword-driven content we are barraged with every day. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah; it’s jargon run amok. Check out the IBM video below parodying this technobabble reality!
I call this type of marketing, “jargon-orrhea.” It’s contagious and you catch it from interacting with too much bad marketing! How much of this type of marketing do you remember? How much of it actually connected with you in some significant way – made you think, laugh, inspired you, or moved you to action? Exactly.
Far too much marketing today focuses on “information” and facts. This approach over-communicates by spewing data at our “logic brain” without ever really connecting. Because so much of our decisions are, of course, rationally made, right? Yeah, right.
Facts are soon forgotten. What moves people to action is the human connection, or how you make them feel. That’s what human-centered communications do – they connect and move people to action. The key to making people act is getting them to think and feel first: Think. Feel. Do. Contrast “communicating” with connecting by telling a story, as Panera does in the following video. Here, a Panera baker discusses why he got into baking. The video isn’t trying to communicate facts; it’s connecting you to the passion behind the company.
In the last week, I had several meetings with technology providers. In each of these meetings, I spent an hour listening to facts, figures, buzzwords, and still didn’t fully glean what these companies did that matters to customers, and why I should care. I asked one VP of marketing to clarify a few things. His response was, “as I already told you, “and proceeded to repeat his technical explanation. That’s right – he fell back into a robotic script of sorts.
He lost me, despite communicating lots of facts and meaningless hype: “paradigm shifting, game-changing marketing learning interactions.” What?!!! He not only failed to connect with me; he failed to communicate anything of value. He missed an opportunity to reach me emotionally. What’s the point of communicating how much “techno-smarts” you have, if you lose your customer? And truly smart communicators know that simplicity is critical – especially in the face of technical complexity.
Average companies target customers’ heads; great companies target their hearts. Here’s the thing – clarity is the burden of the communicator. If your ideal customer isn’t “getting it, it’s not your customer’s fault. It’s yours.
Put away the fact book, and focus on talking to your customers as people. Tell them stories of how your product helps them. Simplify by using human language. Cut out the jargon, discuss benefits. If you see that your client is confused, stop, refocus and build a connection.
Great marketers don’t communicate; they connect. Only by connecting with people, can you move them to action!