Avoid “Sterile” Communications

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with food. A while back, I was listening to a weekend radio show that featured Food Maven Joyce Goldstein. She was describing a celebrated pastry chef who spent hours and hours making an elaborate dessert that used all sorts of gadgets – a huge slicer, a dehydrator, gellan gum, instant freezer, etc. – while showing off his finely-honed kitchen skills.

But the chef was far too technical.  “Where’s the soul, man!” exclaimed Goldstein.  She felt there was no passion, “no sensuality” to his cooking.  She called it “machine food.”

The same can be said about some high technology marketing. Especially with products rich in technical depth and where the benefits are not intuitively obvious. Oftentimes, technology companies will take a “clinical” and (overly) technically accurate approach when describing their offerings, resulting in a lack of passion and emotional appeal to the buying customer.  In these instances, the relevance and benefits to the buyer are noticeably absent – they’re either missing entirely, or buried in mounds of mind-numbing technical detail.

When it comes to messaging, extreme precision and being overly comprehensive can be the enemy. Too often, we have a tendency to list everything for fear of leaving something out. If you want your message to stick, keep it simple. Concentrate on 1-2 points that deliver the greatest value to the customer.

Just for fun, I used the Buzz Word Generator  tool to come up with some “jargon-ese” that is typical of the technology industry. I’ll bet you’ve seen similar phrases before:

  1. Fully-configurable  intermediate  utilization
  2. Organized  asynchronous  orchestration
  3. Intuitive coherent infrastructure

What do you think of these phrases? Impressive or just “noise?” In order to be effective, our messages must cut through the clutter.

Technology is an incredible enabler, but sometimes we communicate in ways that fail to connect with the buyer.  How would you assess your ability to communicate the value of your offerings?

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Cindee Mock
Cindee specializes in value proposition/messaging development, PR-AR-social and demand generation activities; she is a published author in several outlets, including Harvard Business Review.

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