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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Word games: ditching the marketing jargon

Phil Bartlett on why he’s an advocate of ditching the jargon… choose your words carefully when you next see him!

So that was 2012, was it?  Quite a rollercoaster, I'm sure you'll agree.  

Here we are.  The nights are in, the shopping is almost done and the children are roasting on an open fire (that is right, isn't it?).  So, what are we asking for from Father Christmas this year?  Is there a special something he could leave under the tree?

Probably, yes.  But more importantly, there's something he could chuck on the open fire.  And that's the Bumper Book of Management Mumbo Jumbo.

As a native English speaker I realise I'm in a fortunate position.  English is the international language of business, and as a result I don't have to learn a new language in order to do my job.  Or so I thought.  More and more it seems like there's a whole new language that is as foreign to me as any other.

We don't look at the future, we look at “moving forward”.  We don't talk, we “connect” – if we're lucky we might get “face time” with someone.  We don't do something, we “action” it.  We consider things “from soup to nuts” (a restaurant reference I'm told – but who has nuts at the end of a meal?).  And when we need to look at the detail, we “get granular”?  I got “granular” this morning with my son's wholegrain cereal, but beyond that I'm lost.

And I admit it.  This year I've thought outside the box.  I've pushed the envelope.  I picked the low-hanging fruit, drank the Kool-Aid and dropped the ball.  I may even have gone the extra mile on a level playing field (but that might have been a particularly vivid dream).

At the end of the day if we focus on our core competencies we can bring on board a synergistic win-win dynamic for 2013.  Who knows, we could even walk the talk.

Or… we could just talk.  English is a rich enough language as it is.  It doesn't need the fake diamante glister of marketing language to dress it up.  By using phrases that we've heard along the way somewhere we make our worlds unnecessarily complex and inaccessible.  

Marketing is about communication, and communication happens between people.  It's our job to make that communication clear, concise and coherent.  So let's start with making those demands of ourselves and of each other, and see where that gets us.

I'm sure Father Christmas would agree that it's time we bit the bullet, and really raised the bar.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Article by
Phil Bartlett

managing director, McCann Health

12th December 2012

From: The Directory



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