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January 30, 2019


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It's not jargon if it speaks to your target audience. If its a significant benefit and internal management want to create brand differentiation by promoting this benefit, it is strategy and not jargon.

And, sometimes companies will do it on purpose to add "jargon" to make you want to search and become educated this is called a tactic.

I wish people who don't understand marketing stop talking about marketing. Also, I wish people would stop dumbing-down marketing.

Marcia Yudkin

Cecilia, thank you for taking the time to express your opinions.

I've been a marketing professional for more than 35 years, and one thing I've observed again and again, in nearly every industry and for nearly every kind of audience, is that those within a company very often overestimate the degree to which the audience understands their specialized terminology.

I've also observed that very few people do research to understand a company's jargon. When possible, they'd rather do business with a company that speaks their language.

In the instance I wrote about, I was *exactly* the target market of the bread company. Yet I did not understand what actually they were selling or how it was distinctive, and I could not have explained it to someone else in their target market who was on the lookout for tasty, healthy food.

Marketing relies on communication, and if the intended audience doesn't understand words, communication doesn't take place. Intentional mystification is a strategy that I would never in a million years recommend to any of my clients. Besides being ineffective, it's disrespectful to the audience.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Marcia, thank you for responding to Cecilia's comment. I agree with you. I experience the frustration of jargon often in my business, even when I am the ideal customer.

I am satisfied when a company uses jargon but teaches me what it means immediately in the same communication. Then I feel educated. However, I never do research on my own to figure out what a marketer is trying to say. If they don't communicate clearly when they are selling, how would they communicate after I purchased their product or service?

Cecilia, if you have marketing research to support your point, I would love to know about it. I am writing from my own experience. Marcia is writing from her marketing expertise. If you have research we should consider, please share it.



Thanks Lynn & Marcia for sharing!

Marcia- excellent response to Cecilia. What's your opinion about Seth Godin knowledge of marketing?

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Carl,

Let's not put our guest expert on the spot to comment on well-known marketing gurus. Instead, I suggest subscribing to Marcia's "Marketing Minute" and checking out her website. Those actions will fill you in on her beliefs and opinions.


Cathy Miller

I totally agree with Marcia's response. My specialty is in health care and employee benefits - an industry that wins awards for jargon. However, I assure you I still get stumped by some of its jargon even after 30-plus years in the industry.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Cathy,

Nice to hear from you! The pervasiveness of jargon is amazing, isn't it? I've been in learning and development (formerly training) for many years. But I hadn't a clue when I first heard people in human resources talking knowingly about "leaving ADDIE for SAM." Hmm--another term thrown around with the assumption that everyone is in the know.

Thanks for stopping by.


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