Communication Clarity in Marketing
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to mix the future of online marketing with the present in such a way as to make a point in the most effective way possible … and you thought wearables weren’t mainstream yet :). But first, check out this video. It will only take a few minutes of your time.
So, what’s my point? We marketers have put a premium on making the customer experience in engaging with our brand as positive and personalised as we can possibly make it. We’ve gone as far as to establish how the customer perceives their experience to be the new corporate brand.
I just came back from the Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference (dmexco) in Germany in which that was Adobe’s theme for their participation in the event.
It occurred to me as I strolled the halls of the conference and talked to many people just like me that the question that needed to be asked was, “Do You Know What Your Marketing is Saying?” I wrote a blog post on my own blog but it occurred to me that there is more to that story.
The value of the customer experience depends greatly on having continuity and consistency of message across all marketing channels. The video you just watched demonstrated in quite an entertaining way that even though we broadcast the identical message across all marketing channels, do we really know what we are saying. Is it communication clarity or the stringing together of buzzwords? We can’t even agree on how to characterize marketing across the ever-increasing number of channels. We wander from cross channel to multichannel to omnichannel in our attempts to give it some type of identity. We should just create a new buzzword made up of the first letter of each of the options … CMO marketing. Hey, I thought it was clever. I’m sure I’ll hear about this from my CMO :).
But, let’s not squander the opportunity to drive home the point here. We need to talk to people in their native language using vocabulary that is clear and understandable. A good test is read out your copy and try the “would a human being really say that?” test. And less of the salesmanship. We still have a reputation of being deceptive and misleading with customers in using language that is more persuasive than honest in trying to get them to buy what we’re selling.
In discussions like this, I love to explore the Asian cultures for ways to explain things like this. The Japanese in this case are so much more advanced than we Westerners are in understanding the human element of how people perceive simple things like clear communications. One of my colleagues wrote about it recently. The notions of honne and tatemae, two of the many intriguing concepts of Japanese culture, are in play here. Honne refers to what a person actually says and feels while tatemae refers to what a person publicly states. Marketers have earned a bad reputation by saying what they believe needs to be said to sell a product.
If the customer experience is indeed our new corporate brand, we need to change our ways and talk plainly and openly. The continuity and consistency of the message must have a transparent meaning. Otherwise, the customer as our brand ambassador is in for a tough time.