Communicating Value, Not Buzz Terms

By Matt Duffy, Associate Director, Client Strategy & Development

Last week I was having a conversation with a co-worker and during the course of our chat, I became very self-aware of the number of industry buzz terms we were casually floating back and forth. Such terms include (but are certainly not limited to) the following… optimization, maximization, expansion, analytics, linking strategy, pinnacle keywords, efficiency, testing, meta data, etc.

As online marketers, we constantly throw around such buzz terms in common dialog. At times, with the use of these terms we may deter our audience away from what we’re truly attempting to communicate. Search is no doubt a unqiue media channel and our world can have a lot of complexity. However, our language and the way we communicate doesn’t have to be.

Take for example analytics….an important component of our jobs and a term we toss around on a daily basis. We could go on for hours talking about the tagging process, variations in the tools we could use, the vast amount of data and statistical information we could carve up in a hundred different ways. However in doing so, the importance of analytics to the health and success of online marketing can be lost between buzz terms and technical dialog. It’s our job to find ways to communicate with our clients in a matter that they clearly understand, and can further articulate to people within their organization. Sometimes that requires becoming a story-teller.

Follow me on this example…. “Analytics and your house”

Imagine you go to work one day, and shortly after you leave I enter your home. What can I learn about you by going through your stuff? For starters, I can determine what food you like to eat by going into your fridge. I can determine what you like to watch on TV by rolling through your Tivo, or what you like to read by checking out the magazine selection on the coffee table. I can dig through your garage to find you’re an avid skier. I can look through pictures and find out how many siblings you have, where you went to college, and perhaps where you grew up. I can discover the number of people that live with you in the house, and can probably infer what room of the house you spend the most time in.

After uncovering this information, would you say I am now more equipped to target you with future marketing messages?

  • Like to hit the slopes?’s some flight deals to Colorado that may peak your interest.
  • Spend most your time in the kitchen?’s a few recipe’s you may want to try out for the next dinner party.

Analytics operates much the same way. The concept of analytics is basic…we have a window into what people are doing in your house. What pages are they viewing the most? How long are they staying on a given page? What path do they take through your site?

My goal here is not to over-simplify the process of Analytics or the robust data it can provide. But at its core, analytics is all about a deeper understanding of consumer behavior through data, which helps us as marketers better target your audience. Isn’t this a value any marketer would be interested in?

As media channels such as TV, print, and online become more and more integrated within your organization, it’s imperative to find ways to communicate concepts that people can latch onto and understand the value, without getting caught in a barrage of industry buzz terms.


Anonymous said...

I always thought analytics was similar to breaking and entering.

Dan Kuthy said...

Nice post, Matt. While the image of you in my house, looking through my photos to determine where I grew up is a little bit unsettling, I definitely agree that taking complex disciplines and translating them into common-sense business is a key part of the agency-client relationship.


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