Intimacy over remote channels
Marketing needs to use better language to enable people to communicate remotely – more direct, more concise and more peer to peer.
We are all frustrated that we cannot meet our peers in retail and tech because live events are for now stone dead. We are all trying to what come unnaturally and the novelty wore off for me about three months ago. I rely like all of you on my natural charm and with to get me through a Zoom call to pitch an idea to a person I may not actually meet until Spring of next year. It is not always successful with a complete stranger but who can blame them. At Fieldworks, we find we are getting a good bump from making connections with new people through people we already know.
So it helps that we know a lot of people and I think prospects are recognising how valuable this is as they come into a market where they know almost no one except for a handful of VCs. Market knowledge and contacts always mattered, now they matter more than ever. It enables remote communications to cut through more easily and it has even seen a return to the good old telephone that so many of us have shunned over the last 10 or more years.
In marketing terms, if connections are going to be more personal and personalised, it makes sense to change the language, the tone and the pitch. When you hear the phrase delivering engagement, do you wince or do you simply ignore it because you didn’t care to try and understand it.
I’ve always been on a quest for clarity and directness, a quest populated with demons that try to throw me off the battlements in the search for the perfect phrase. The quest is also made harder by the siren song of clients for whom vagueness is part of their template, so persuading them to change is not easy, particularly when it meets the legal department who wouldn’t know clear language if it served them with a writ.
New language for remote communications
But if we are going to continue to try and make personal connection with people, albeit over a clunky zoom call, then the conversational language we are using needs to translate to the written word, be it an article, blog, LinkedIn social card, infographic, even a data sheet. There are no rules anymore and in fact, maybe there never were. Even corporate manuals do not really get into what language can be used other than suggesting it be upbeat.
I’ve now binned my FT and Economist style guides and try to communicate the personality of my business through my own personality – direct, helpful, occasionally glib, insightful and … I’ll let you fill in the blanks here.
That’s me, but generally I urge people to embrace the new remote channels and enjoy the paradox of distance giving permission to intimacy. No one has yet set any rules for how to do a webinar, so let’s all do what we can to make our communications informal and conversational. Kind of where we going when we could all get together!