Have you ever been sitting with your marketing team trying to decide the best way to move forward with a campaign, and it feels like everyone is speaking a different language?
One of the biggest challenges in marketing is feeling uncertain about approaching a project when your work and knowledge don’t produce the desired results. When you’re part of a team and know so much more about a topic than everyone else, getting everybody on the same page can be challenging. Today, we’re looking at breaking down data jargon and persuasive language to help data analysts and decision-makers in marketing better understand one another.
What is jargon language?
Now you may not be familiar with the word “jargon,” and that’s okay because that’s the perfect example of its definition. Jargon means special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand. Often, jargon will refer to very technical language or slang terms with which most people are unfamiliar.
When you first step into the world of finance and marketing, many of the terms used regularly by these experts will be somewhat confusing to you, so it’s important to stress your understanding early on. If you’re sitting across from your marketing manager and you can’t understand half of what they say, you won’t get very far in making a campaign decision.
Now that we’ve explained the basis of this common issue let's look at how miscommunication can be limited from both an analyst’s perspective and the executive’s.
This is the side that will probably feel misunderstood more often because their job requires a lot of data and technical terms, some of which are not easy to translate into ‘human’ language. Not to say that the way you explain things is wrong if you’re any kind of data or marketing analyst, but because it makes sense to you, that doesn’t mean it will make sense to everyone else.
Technical language is tough to define in simple terms, so you might want to provide context to your findings when presenting your data in meetings and to your project managers. Providing visual aids and similar trends in data that the decision-maker has seen before can help put ideas into perspective.
An example of technical terms that an executive may be less familiar with is a common idea in digital marketing known as search engine optimization or SEO for short. Unless you work with digital trends and are constantly stalking monthly search values for different ideas, this term will go right over your head. So, if you’re trying to convey a marketing strategy centered around this practice, try putting the proposal into more commonly used words like “top result” or higher ranked search result” when dealing with your business and products. You understand as an analyst what this practice entails, but it’s difficult to explain to others who don’t use it regularly.
Try to liken your data and the point you’re trying to make to something that multiple people with different backgrounds could easily relate to and understand. If you’re trying to convince your executive to make an investment decision for their marketing department, try to display your data regarding other investments and returns that they can better grasp.
This side of the table often comes with the problem of trying to understand specific terms that you are unfamiliar with. This can lead to a disconnect in the marketing campaign meetings or lead to decisions being made without the necessary data. It could also lead to marketing decisions that aren’t cohesive.
What do we mean by this? If you’re making the final call and you’re listening to your analyst’s presentation, but you have no idea what they’re saying, it’s going to cause that disconnect. Then what will happen is you’re either going to pretend you understood it and base your decisions on a bit of knowledge, or you’re going to disregard their efforts and go with what you think.
That isn’t to say this is a hard and fast rule, some decision-makers in marketing do take steps to make sure at least one other person knows the technical and the financial implications of each decision so they can make an informed one. However, many times you will see an executive feel confused by everything being thrown at them in a language that they’re not intimately familiar with, so gaps in knowledge start to form.
Here’s our advice if you’re the decision-maker in your company and this happens to you.
When you’re in the meeting, and your analyst finishes their pitch, and you feel confused about specific items, tell them! We promise you they would rather you ask them to explain than have you pretend to understand and do something entirely different. They’re the experts, so chances are if you’re struggling to grasp a concept, they can explain it in a way that’s easier for you and continue to do so in the future.
Tackling marketing miscommunication and closing gaps in data knowledge is not an easy fix, and it does take effort from both sides, not just one. If you’re trying to bend backward as an analyst and second-guess everything you present, you’re going to create a lot more work for yourself. On the other hand, as an executive, if you hire a data analyst for your marketing team and don’t take advantage of them, then you’ll end up creating hours of issues and low ratings from uninformed actions. You work for the same company towards the same goals, so use each other and work together to make the best marketing decisions possible.
No matter which title you hold in this scenario, if you try to meet the other party halfway, you’ll have fewer mishaps, and both will walk away from marketing meetings feeling confident about your work. Open communication and clarifying everyone’s understanding is the simplest way to eliminate any form of misunderstanding within a marketing campaign.