Language in Marketing

Wellworth: The Language of Marketing

“Marketing is about communicating in the language of the buyer, establishing a mutual understanding and converting this to a sale.”

Effective and differentiated use of language results in effective persuasion or at least the effective transmission of feelings and ideas a marketer intends to communicate to the target customer. I’ve been a proponent of the power of business to deliver value in the communities in which they operate. On this note, I have written in the past about marketing as a key business function from Staying Visible where I reflected on Safaricom PLC position in the telecommunication industry, Storytelling where I focused on the power of the stories we tell to either make or break, Matching Product Promise to Product Value with a focus on branding and Good Service as Good Business where I reflected on my personal experiences among others. In all these stories, there’s a common thread, communicating your value proposition whether in words, actions or conduct of business and realizing the benefits in returns and conversions. Armed with this then you need to ask yourself whether you are leveraging on this power. Probably you’ll be so eager to excuse yourself for not being a marketer but that’s not true. You know it and I know it so let us take a deep dive together.

I recently transitioned to a new role in my career and with the transition I get to interact with new people performing different roles within the same organization. As a business entity, we focus on reimagining medicines with an aim to extend and improve peoples’ lives. This is only possible when these products get to the hands of these patients who then use them to manage their medical conditions. For this matter we have a diverse team from regulatory affairs professionals where I’m part of the team, medical affairs specialists, marketing teams, patient safety experts, communications, IT experts among others. In this whole spectrum I had a brief chat with our of manager with a focus on the commercial operations and specifically marketing. In this chat I wanted to understand how marketing works and the basic principle of marketing based on his experience. From his account, the key driver and specific determinant is language. Language in this context is not about being able to speak a common language but the ability to speak in terms that make sense to the recipient. We can both and all speak in English but in the entire conversation there’s room for understanding that a deaf person expressing himself/herself in sign language to an audience that doesn’t understand sign language but makes sense of the demonstrations. That’s the power of language in marketing i.e. being relatable, having a common understanding and using the same to communicate the value to the prospective customer in a way they understand with clear action items i.e. expected call to action. Closing the sale in other terms.

We all are selling and as we all sell, we have to be able to speak in a language our counterparts understand. In the space where I operate as a regulatory affairs professional, I’m meant to interface with regulators who are keen on safeguarding public health by ascertaining quality, safety and efficacy of medicines we bring into the market. On this account then, my responsibility is to demonstrate and provide scientific evidence that validate all the claims behind the safety, efficacy and quality of our medicines. Once convinced, we are able to get the medicines into the countries upon registration and patients will then use them. If I am unsuccessful on this account, a patient misses out on their essential medication and may suffer complications as a result. It’s then my role to speak the language of the regulator both in words, scientific demonstration and proactive engagement in satisfying all the expectations.

My challenge for you this weekend is to reflect on the language of your work as a technical matter expert and consider whether you have been using technical jargons with people who don’t understand these (in which case you may be interfacing with the wrong audience or not socially intelligent to tailor your communication appropriately) or whether you’ve been effective at this. In the latter, you still have room to improve because for career growth you are bound to interface with different target clients/markets for which then you’ll have to understand their language. Get learning and growing with a focus on where you are headed. After all is said and done, we are all marketing and have to work on our language to win our customers over.

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