We’ve all heard it. And now it’s time to realize we’re missing the mark if our goal is to hold a normal conversation with a consumer.
Dwight Fletcher / July 10, 2015

“You mind if I ask a couple of questions?”

One of my clients asked me this during my interviews with mom shoppers inside a grocery store a couple of years ago.
At Spearfish we actually encourage our clients to ask questions during our focus groups or intercept interviews, so I was more than willing to give him the floor.   But once he pulled out his notepad and began rattling off a half dozen questions, I realized I had made a mistake.

But it wasn’t the questions themselves that were the issue.

It was the way he asked them.

This guy crammed in more marketing jargon into each sentence than should be legal, and with each question the confusion mounted on these moms’ faces.  He was not communicating, but he didn’t know it.  His questions might as well have been asked in a foreign language.  Because to them, it was a foreign language.

This reinforced our belief that we must be careful that we speak naturally when communicating with our customers, conversationally, just as we speak every day with our friends, neighbors and peers.   It’s actually very simple.  And it’s effective.

So why do marketers feel the need to jargonize everything?

I guess it’s simply a case where certain professionals just don’t realize how they sound to those outside their office.
And one of the reasons why they’re wise to have other people handle these interviews – people who can speak one on one with everyday people.