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Obfuscating Clarification to Achieve Asynchronous Discourse

How often do you land on a B2B website or an ad in a trade magazine, and see something like this:

“Berndkrust Solutions is a fully integrated solution provider empowering enterprises to achieve syncronicity between market metrics and proactive aquisition attainments, with the goal of leveraging tangible data points to form a comprehensive personification of associative business intelligence, and developing a solution matrix to reach optimized ROI.”


I don't know about you, but I have no idea what this company actually does. Is it a software vendor? Consultant? Do they make a hardware product? Do I plug it into the wall? Is it bigger than a breadbox? Should I keep it in the refrigerator?

More important, I have no idea if this company can solve my business challenges, or if I am even in their target market. I am stuck wondering if I should I waste my time wading through all their marketing gobbledygook to get somewhere. That is not a good impression.

Okay, admittedly, this is an extreme example. But I have seen copy that was about as indecipherable. And I’ll bet you have, too.

I often wonder who writes this stuff? Is it one person, or a committee? Do they think this is good communication?

Ask yourself this: If you had a chance to give your 15-second elevator speech to someone who asked about your business, would you regurgitate the type of nonsense in the example above?

If you were talking to me, I would wonder why you felt the need to whip up this cloudburst of impressive-sounding market speak? Are you trying to impress me? Or intimidate me? Are you trying to hide the fact that you really don’t know what you’re talking about? In any event, you’ve lost me as a potential customer.

This trend toward obfuscatory marketing language seemed to get worse when companies started substituting the word “solution” for “product.” Suddenly, everyone was offering “solutions” instead of readily-identifiable products or services. You had to wade through a sea of pompous-sounding buzzwords to find out what the heck a company even did. It became comical—and annoying.

Here’s a thought: As a business owner, I know my business needs and what will work for me. Just tell me what you do, and I will decide if you truly have a solution for me. If I leave it up to you—and your solution is really just a hammer—you’re likely to try turning all my business challenges into a nail.

Here’s an example I think works better:

“Retail Insight is a software development team focusing on small- to medium-sized retailers who have a web presence. We develop uniquely innovative ways to analyze the behavior of customers who visit your site, and give you the same in-depth insight into your visitors that the major retailers get — at a fraction of their cost. We help you turn anonymous clicks into useful profiles of real people. Our success stories speak for themselves. You can read about them here.

“Whether you use your site for e-commerce, or just to support your brick-and-mortar store, the more information you have about your customers, the more you can follow up with them and turn their initial interest into sales. We help you get that critical information.

“We can develop your entire site for you, or custom integrate our software technology into your existing site — all at a cost that works for businesses like yours.”

You could write this a dozen ways; this is just one example. The idea is that within the first few sentences you know what kind of business this is, who the target market is, and what they offer. And you are presented with a few unique selling points and benefits to this product. The last paragraph further clarifies the product so prospects can quickly determine if it can work for them.

It’s straight, to the point, and comfortably conversational, with a minimum of buzzwords. You are not forcing the audience to waste time slogging through a jungle of trendy marketing content to get to the information they want.

Fortunately, I see a trend back toward conversational content. It’s as if the pendulum is swinging back toward “real” conversation in marketing, instead of fabricated pseudo-sophistication.

You can make a compelling case by carefully weaving the facts they want with the benefits they need to reassure them that you are the vendor they should use; and do it while sounding like you’re having a friendly conversation with them.

I am not saying you should avoid the industry-specific terminology that your prospects and customers expect to see. You know the difference, and so do they.

Pretty much everyone wants to be treated with honesty and respect. No one wants to feel bamboozled or talked down to. But flooding your content with highfalutin’ buzzwords is likely to have that effect.

Your marketing content should give prospects the facts and features they need, along with the benefits they will realize if they choose you.

If you can do this in a conversational style that that comes across as genuine, you will go a long way toward earning their trust—and their business. Here’s to your success!