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March 13, 2007


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» Explain your product or service so that anyone can quickly understand what you do from Jacquelyn Lynn, Business Writer
Technology companies are probably the worst—but not the only—offenders when it comes to spouting jargon that nobody else really understands. I’m not impressed when someone spews out a rapid-paced string of verbal confusion, and I don’t have time to try... [Read More]


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Eric Eggertson

Most administration managers or IT managers know what a document management system is, so I don't think the jargon will get in the way of communicating with their target market.

But companies like this should realize that they benefit from having a clear message that people outside the inner circle can understand.

Most major sales decisions have to also pass through a senior management team. The clearer your language, the better that group understands the value of investing in your products and services.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you for the comment Eric. I agree with you that many IT people will understand the market category of product. And I also agree with you that for big IT purchases other departments and the management team gets involved.

Consider this. The wikipedia entry for "document management system" is 890 words. This is not a simple category so merely saying that the company is a document management system supplier doesn't explain what the product does effectively or detail what the specialization aspects are.

It is also important for companies to remember their other constituencies -- media, analysts, employees, partners, suppliers, and so on. These groups should not have to dry to decipher gobbledygook.

Eric Eggertson

Jargon is like cocaine. It makes the user feel smart and unbeatable. It's a hard crutch to give up.

Once you get people to buy into using language that people can understand, they're grateful for any suggestions on language changes. Until then, I've found they are very defensive about their jargon. Just look at how the social media enthusiasts refer to RSS feeds and so on...

Dee Rambeau

I love that Eric! Jargon is like cocaine...never quite heard it put like that.

I've been on a few demos of our software recently where I've had the super-smarty-pants-I'm-the-smartest-guy-in-the-room say, "well what would the advantage of your platform be over our turwiddlydoo proprietary meat-powered mansuit solution?"

And I want to respond very succintly and say, "because yours fucking sucks and our fucking rocks!"

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