A colleague of mine recently reminded me of the Mark Twain quote, "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter", illustrating the challenges in exerting some editorial brevity into communications. It's a lesson we should all remember. In this age of citizen journalism and a tsunami of social sharing the value of a good editor has been lost in the belief that we are all publishers. A recent Instagram connection proudly stated "Sorry for over sharing but I use this channel as much as a journal as a social channel" Well, you know what? The rest of us don't, thank you very much.
Having (or being) an editor is almost a dirty word, likely due to the biased, unpalatable views often espoused by a few, politically motivated press outlets. However it is a rare skill (like good copywriting) that I'm convinced will be appreciated in the years to come.
So I wonder what Mark Twain would have made walking the aisles of dmexco (now there's an image!), the behemoth of a tech/marketing/advertising show that attracted over 40,000+ visitors to rainy Cologne this week. Not for his views on brevity, but more about clear communication.
The event, to say the least, is overwhelming. With over 1,000 exhibitors I really don't know what the average visitor makes of the Expo. Or even where to start. In a show populated by members of what is fundamentally a communications business, it's impossible to differentiate the rows upon rows of companies. The language is confusing and often makes no sense.
I'm a tech marketer of some years, and even I struggle to comprehend what everyone is saying. For example, I'm not sure what "actionable transparency" is, and whether I need some? And "relevance makes the difference" sounds good, but relevant to whom? I'm all for change, and definitely like better content, but I feel stupid as i've never spotted I needed help "transforming content connections".
And I know summing up what you do is always tricky but saying you only provide "technology for category leaders" surely annoys everyone aside for a single company in one category? And why would you want to limit your prospect pool anyway?
I like to get all touchy feely, but I shudder to think what a "Touch-tell-sell-model" is? And "more than analytics" shouts insecurity and a lack of confidence. Plus I know all of our jobs will one day be taken by our robot overlords, but "Real People. Real Results" says the rest of us have fake people and fake results.
However, my favourite descriptor goes to a sentence that surely has only come from a martech random word generator : "Data-driven marketing personalises the modern customer experience". Tick. Tick. Tick. All the digital marketing boxes checked!
And hey, I'm not saying everyone's perfect. We all fall into the same traps in our respective microcosms. I guess putting the digital marketing industry all into one big room only highlighted in sharp relief the challenges marketers have in making sense of the myriad of suppliers
So please please please, marketing/advertising tech world, lets spend more time to write a shorter message, and hopefully use words which we can all understand.
[For guidelines, check out this Marketing BS Detector]
Image c/o: http://mzansispellingbee.org