When Marketers Can Sound Like Charlie Brown’s Teacher


Charlie Brown and Snoopy contiplating life

"In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back."

~Charlie Brown

One of the things that I think is hilarious about Charlie Brown is the voices of all the adults (Teachers and Parents). When they speak, you can’t understand what they are saying. Now that’s great for a cartoon, but when you’re among your peers in other parts of the organization, it can be very frustrating.  This is a common complaint I hear from functional heads as well as Presidents and CEOs about the marketing department.

Let’s face it: Marketers invent words to describe things that could be expressed simply. The only group that invents more words than marketers are consultants. (Oh yes, we consultants have acronyms and buzz words for everything. Now that’s a self-inflicted wound.) While inventing and propagating novel phrases gives you street credibility in the marketing circles, industry and in the web 2.0 world, if you want to be taken seriously by your CEO and peers across the organization, markets need to speak in common-language business terminology.

Sound familiar: “We can drive share by leveraging our value proposition downstream to maximize our brand equity in the cloud. This will provide a boost in RSS and incentivized traffic and ultimately new logo acquisitions. We’ll supplement this all with virtual eZine programs. We can also engage power bloggers that follow netiquette protocols to boost our CTRs.”

I guarantee that most of the heads of sales, service, strategy, finance, IT, and development do not - and have no desire to - translate, interpret or decipher jargon like this. It’s like when you visit a foreign country. Everyone appreciates it when you make the effort to speak their language. The more you communicate in common business terminology, the more you’ll be accepted and respected by your peers and your boss.

Bottom line: The great thing about this last critical success factor is that it’s so simple to implement. Speak in a language that your colleagues and customers will understand and it will be easier to bring them on board with your initiatives. You’ll be in a much better position to have real and effective conversations.

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