Thursday, February 10, 2005

Marketing online resources: Staying away from jargon

At the end of yesterday's post about marketing online resources, I noted that you should stay away from jargon. This is often hard for us to do, especially when dealing with databases, digital libraries and digitization projects. We ten to feel the need to use specialized words to define what we're talking about, but often these words are not familiar to our target audience. Instead we need to speak their language.

When you begin to construct marketing materials for your target audience (e.g., brochures, flyers, presentations, training, etc.), consider the following:
  • How would your users describe the product? What words would they use? Don't think of the industry jargon that you take for granted, but the words that people unfamiliar with the industry/product would use. Yes, this might mean you'll have to use more words to describe what you're talking about, but your users will appreciate it.
  • What examples would users grasp? Sometimes we think of really cool examples (well, cool to us), but your users might be more impressed with something more mundane and in their realm of understanding. And keep in mind that some examples don't translate across age groups or cultures.
  • Can you keep the K.I.S.S. principle? (Keep it simple, stupid.) We tend to provide information and explanations that get complex and confusing. Do your best to keep it simple.
  • Can you gear your language to specific target audiences? For example, can you produce marketing materials in foreign languages geared towards non-English speaking members of your community? You may find people interested in the product your marketing and willing to work through a third-party (due to language constraints) to gain access to it. (Do have someone who speaks the language review your materials to ensure that the translations are appropriate.)

Remember to test your marketing materials on members of your target audience before disseminating. This extra step can ensure that the materials will work and save you embarrassment.


Judi Singleton said...

This very good advise I was reading my owners manual for my car last night. My security system went crazy and my emergency flashers were on. So sitting in my driveway was this siren, with red lights flashing. I had to call a friend to explain my owners manual to me. So same thing with sales. If we use too much technical jargon people do not even know what you are talking about. Judi
Come visit one of my blogs:">Goddess Gospel">Herbal Harvest
Please post an entry so I know you were there. Judi

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