Sunday, August 23, 2015

Market Jargon

Two items of jargon popular in the marketing community currently are “touch points” and “pain points.” Near as I can tell, “touch points” are where the seller makes contact (as it used to be called) with the prospect, with emails, blogs, or whatever. “Pain points” are what we used to call problems, and they belong to the prospect. The question I just have to ask is, “Is touching a prospect on his pain point good strategy or bad?”

I can remember once when I had a broken toe, and believe me that’s a pain point. Someone touching me there would have gotten one helluva negative response. You don’t want that if you’re selling something, so at first glance it would seem to be bad practice. Approaching someone else’s pain can be tricky. But today’s marketers have the answers; there’s lots more jargon  in the armamentarium.

Chief among these is “engagement,” a soothing balm to be applied liberally to the affected area. The sign on the side of the wagon promises business people that it will not only get flaccid prospects up and about, but will convert them into evangelists for the seller's cause. Progress toward the promised result will be measured in likes, views, shares, and tweets.

Surprisingly, there are also throwbacks to old practices among the recommendations  --“relevance,” “credibility,” “trust”  -- ingredients formerly available over the counter that apparently now need to be prescribed.   

It’s depressing to think that marketers would need to be instructed in simple truths and that others would be able to make a business of instructing them. I have recently seen at least two articles on the subject of credibility in which the authors posit that the way to attain it is to be truthful. 

Why didn’t I think of that?

The cause of it all is “content marketing,” the nostrum that has replaced traditional and well-proven advertising practices. Laying out the benefits of using one’s product or service is no longer permissible, which creates the need for “content,” which creates the need to try to bend extraneous information to a commercial purpose (see Dos Equis beer’s tutorial on creating fire with dry sticks).    

There are dozens if not hundreds of people practicing without a license, lecturing on dozens if not hundreds of websites, some self-accredited as marketing “universities.” I have not yet seen one, but can a marketing ER be far behind?