I get an inevitable chuckle every night when I get home from work and my husband (who makes a living in the residential construction business while studying to be a nurse and holding a teaching degree) asks me how my day was.
It typically goes something like this:
I: [Open front door, pet dog, take off shoes and coat] “Hi (name withheld), did you have a good day?”
He: [Walks to entry, moves giant dog, gives hug] “Yeah, it was pretty good. (launches into lengthy explanation that may include topics such as scaffolding, hanger joists, barge rafters, informatics, arterial sticks and/or necrotic tissue) How was yours?”
I: [looking puzzled and lost] “Good, really good. We exceeded our follower goals on Twitter and we’re really jumping into Foursquare, which I think will be amazing for our retail clients. Especially since they can reward the mayor in so many different ways. It’s sure to drive repeat business and since it can send location tweets and Facebook posts, it’ll be showing up in real-time results in no time. And there’s something so viral about it—though I’m still trying to figure out what the rage really is. I mean, I don’t really want people to know where I am all the time.”
He: [looking puzzled, lost and slightly frightened] “You met the mayor today, he has a virus and you’re afraid that I’ll find out where you really are when you claim to be at work?”
Both: “So, the dog needs to go for a walk and then what’s for dinner?”
We work in entirely different industries, day in and day out, and it shows in our conversations. The good thing for our marriage is that we typically can’t talk about work at home because neither of us has any idea what the other is talking about anymore. But it gives me a chuckle because the reality of it is, while different, the biggest issue is that our industries just don’t move at the same speed or speak in terms we both find universally understandable. In three years, when he comes home talking about a patient who was awarded free health care after being repeatedly crowned the Mayor of (unnamed) medical center on Foursquare and how cool he thinks that is, I’ll be in the back yard taking a spin on our augmented reality lawn mower and growing tomatoes with my iPhone. (I actually hope that’s never the case, for the record.)
It’s the age old marketing challenge—and as it turns out—it permeates all of our lives. Look around. As you polish up your media buys for Q2 and present your new campaign concepts laced with of-the-moment strategies and jargon—stop thinking about how much sense it makes to you and how well it will go over within your organization. Instead, make sure it benefits your client and that you’re able to clearly communicate that to them. Speak in their language. Solve their problems. And make it relevant. Whatever “it” is.
It’s not about Mars or Venus, it’s about communication—and more importantly, smart marketing.