|September 26, 2008|
|Your Product Does What, Exactly?|
|By Greg Hazley|
|I like to think of myself as reasonably tech savvy. A good deal of my job involves the Internet, and Iíve built a few websites and written for some others with a satisfactory level of competence. I even have a Twitter account. |
But Iíll confess that I routinely come across tech-related products and services that baffle me, whether itís a new account that a PR firm picked up or a service or product Iím pitched for an article. Whether youíre the leading strategic solutions provider for the X5 generation network security consulting sector or the proud developer of a B2B client relationship analysis appliance, even after an explanation or product description is provided there are instances where I just donít get it.
I brought this up with an account manager from a New York PR firm last week Ė who was calling to announce his firmís latest client win; donít ask Ė and he told me that journalists who cover technology know and appreciate the arcane terminology. I mentioned that he was calling me for a story and I had no idea what the client did, but he didnít seem to think that was relevant and (speaking slowly) gave me the same explanation again.
Apparently, Iím not the only one with this problem. Paul McKeon, a former business reporter who now runs Atlanta-based Content Factor, feels the pain.
ďWhen I was a business reporter, a mind-boggling frustration of mine--and every journalist for that matter--was that I had to spend countless hours deciphering the most obtuse corporate speak imaginable. Here these companies were pitching why they should be written about and I couldn't even understand what they did in the most basic sense.Ē
Paulís having a little fun with the dilemma and heís developed an online game to have players guess a company based on a description from its website or press release. Itís a subtle rib at marketing pros and worth a try.
As the Wall Street Journalís Ben Worthen blogged this week, ďTechnology is difficult to understand without dressing up products with meaningless buzz terms and technobabble. Companies use these terms to make their announcements sound important, but all they do is make them inaccessible.Ē
Hereís a sample question from Paulís quiz:
ď____ revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information. The companyís award-winning technologies and software have redefined business, entertainment, and personal communications by setting new standards for producing and delivering content that engages people anywhere at anytime.Ē
Thatís Adobe, in case you were wondering.
(Image: Samuel J. Scott)
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