Smart Sound Bite, or Scary Marketing-Speak?

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Are you scaring customers away with your words?

You know that moment … you start explaining what you do, eyes start to glaze over and customers run away screaming.

OK, I exaggerate … no one has ever run out of the room screaming … yet:)

How Well Are We  Communicating?
The problem is that the more we know, the worse we become at communicating that knowledge — we get caught up in jargon.  Chip and Dan Heath call this  “The Curse of Knowledge” .  The irony is, no one is immune — even folks who communicate for a living!  Why?  We are too close to what we know.  This is a common problem that many of us experience.

I was reminded of this recently while reading Ellie Becker’s blog.  Her post happens to be about how to explain Hubspot’s online marketing solution to potential customers.  I’ve had this same problem when I talk to clients about Inbound Marketing — it is so obvious to me, yet so hard to explain.

Examples:  Who’s Doing It Right?

When we talk about our business, do our words really resonate? We need to perfect a sound-bite about our product or service that reflects the customer’s language, and take care not to get caught up in marketing-speak.  Explain how you solve the customer’s problem … in THEIR words.

John Jantch has done this quite well over at Duct Tape Marketing …  his business name (and content) really resonates with his small business audience.  Have you coined a customer-friendly phrase or tagline that communicates instantly what you do?  Not so easy, is it?

I was at a networking meeting recently, and an image consultant named Scarlett De Bease introduced herself by saying she “helps women look thinner and taller”.  Magical words … everyone perked right up!!!

“Inbound Marketing”:  A Communications Challenge?

So … back to the problem at hand:  a customer-friendly way of explaining  “Inbound Marketing”.   If this particular topic bores you, read no further … but smart marketing minds are struggling with how to explain this over at Ellie’s blog.  Can you help?

Does language like “keyword driven content”, “SEO”, “lead nurturing” etc. resonate outside the inner circle?  Or do these terms just confuse — or worse yet, scare — the average business owner?

Here’s my best shot at being “jargon-free” :

“What’s Inbound Marketing?” Soundbite:  Inbound marketing connects all the online dots, helping your best prospects find you, and then building a relationship until they become customers.

How?  Instead of using “push” or “outbound” marketing tactics,  you create an online path for the prospective customer, using tools such as SEO, social marketing, helpful content, blogging, e-marketing, and conversion optimization.

What About Hubspot?  Hubspot’s powerful all-in-one” software helps you integrate all the pieces and provides helpful analytics to measure and improve results.

Proof?  — Hubspot’s technology is backed by over 5000 actual business case studies and the latest best practice research.

Now … how can we say that clearer, shorter, better, or be more interesting? PS – Bragging rights to anyone who comes up with a short phrase that says it even better than “Inbound Marketing”!

Make my day … leave a comment!  And, stop by and say hi on Facebook my facebook page, where I share marketing tips, opinions, and news.  Thanks!


About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on
This entry was posted in hubspot, inbound marketing, marketing branding, marketing communications, small business. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Smart Sound Bite, or Scary Marketing-Speak?

  1. Rhonda, excellent points. When it comes to communication, too often companies get caught-up with technical jargon and/or forget that it’s all about the end-user, not them. And you’re right. Marketers are not exempt. In my brand management days, we used to kid each other about “talking to yourself.” It’s a good communications reminder for all of us. Now, about inbound marketing. Having thought about this recently, I like HubSpot’s own definition: Inbound marketing is a set of marketing strategies and techniques focused on pulling relevant prospects and customers towards a business and its products. I would supplement that by adding the following: think more about Pull vs. Push and Permission vs. Interruption. Inbound marketing comes alive with content marketing, and there are so many online ways to deliver meaningful and relevant content (to the end-user) today. Like any good marketing, though, it requires a strategic plan and smart marketers to make it happen.

    • Harvey, thanks for giving this so much thought. I am going to play around with language relating to Pull vs. Push and Permission vs. Interruption. Of course, your last point is key: all the pieces are great, but a strategic PLAN is the special sauce”).

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