English Language Expert Dr Dharmendra Sheth [Founder @Fluentlingua] shares his experience about the Importance of Language in Marketing.
Marketing includes all activities a company carries out to promote its presence—be it advertising, selling, or delivering services. Obviously, most activities will involve communication across the board. Broadly speaking, everything communicates—shape, size, and colour. But words have the power to augment the value of a message. Language is central to success in marketing.
Here are a few tips to turbocharge your marketing copy whether it is an ad, hoarding, brochure or manual.
Linguistic accuracy is pivotal to the success of any marketing act that demands language. If you make a deliberate mistake to draw readers’ attention, it should be obvious. Avoid it if you are unsure because there is always a chance that some people will consider it a typo or a grammatical mistake. People knowingly or unknowingly associate the quality of language in marketing with the quality of your product or services. Ignore accuracy at your own peril!
Brevity is, in almost everything, a virtue; and marketing is no exception. Ruthlessly edit your draft as often as you can to increase its force. Avoid redundancy and bombastic expressions.
Remember the KISS principle—Keep It Short and Simple. By the way, its modern version is an interesting tip: Keep It Short, Stupid!
Clarity is of paramount importance in marketing. Do not expect your readers to be as intelligent as you are. If your message is wrapped up in lots of verbiage, it will end up as a mystery—most people will fail to understand it. Provide verbal, contextual and visual clues to aid comprehension. When in doubt, leave it out.
Language matters! I mean deciding which language to use is a crucial decision to make in marketing campaigns. The choice depends on the target audience, place and products or services. After deciding on a language, it is imperative to select a dialect and an accent, especially for an audio or audio-visual marketing act. Just as English, every language is spoken in a variety of ways. And, therefore, you have to consider critically the impact of your choice on your target audience.
Diction is the choice and use of words to convey your meaning or message. Every word has its own personality and emotive power. Your words can make or mar your fortune. Using the right word at the right time in front of the right audience will hit the nail on the head. Your choice will depend on your product—for instance, for a food product you might use words such as fragrant, delicious and yummy but not robust, strong or slithery.
It is also important to create fresh, pleasant and catchy phrases—combination of words. Think of some products and their ads, and you will immediately realise how effortlessly some phrases stick in people’s mind. Create music by the sound and rhythm of your text. Play with various combinations and read them out in mind as well as aloud. Creating felicitous phrases is an art which demands long years of study and practice. You might take help of language professionals rather than risk your marketing campaign.
Launch a small survey to obtain feedback on your draft. Involve people of different backgrounds—academic, economic and social. Consider each feedback critically and accordingly make changes to your draft. Whenever possible, carry out a dry run of your marketing copy. Remember, the harder you work before a war, the greater are your chances of victory.
If you are using visuals, the task demands more care. Decide on what should stand out—the verbal or the non-verbal component. Imagine how a member of your target audience will react to your marketing copy. Keep in mind that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures cannot create an impact that some words can create. Remember how effectively Barack Obama used the slogan: Yes, We Can. If you understand well, then only, you’ll be able to confidently start your own podcast, video tutorial, ad visuals and other marketing materials. Remember, it’s very important what you speak during your sales & advertising pitch.
Mind your p’s and q’s. Present with propriety. Mind your language. People are generally sensitive, and some are too touchy. Any small suggestion deriding a class, caste, religion, community or gender will backfire. Avoid words that have even a remote possibility of offending someone somewhere.
It will do you good if you study the language used in successful marketing campaigns. It will help you to prepare your own marketing copy that can easily stand out from the crowd. Remember, every struggle sends you a notch closer to your marketing goal. So, let me end this with best wishes for your grand success.