Tech Talk: Keep It Simple

As a PR guy in advertising technology, I’m often asked by insiders, and even friends, the following question: “With the subject matter so technical and esoteric and the messaging so packed with acronyms and jargon, how can you tell these tech companies apart?”

A fair question. In fact, it is a topic that has been getting little play in various quarters. Hopefully, my perspective here will nudge the conversation along because I strongly believe that it is an important issue for ad tech players.

So why is it that most ad tech companies talk and write about themselves and the space in general as if they were reciting an instruction manual for a high-end vacuum cleaner? Yeah, sure, algorithms and quants are driving the conversation but at the end of the day, we must not forget one simple thing: we are in the advertising business. And lest we be reminded, what is the overriding objective of the ad biz? To sell stuff. And how do you sell stuff? By engaging the target audience in a compelling manner and employing tactics that elicit the full range of positive emotional reactions from laughs to tears of joy and empathy.

That being the industry’s raison d’etre, the more you stray from that., even in the tech sphere—actually, especially in the tech sphere– the more likely that your messaging will disappear into the cacophony of noise that dominates ad tech communications.

Instead of serving up alphabet soup, how about clear, simple and direct usage of the English language to describe the value proposition of your offering along with clear, simple and direct usage of the English language to describe the benefits of employing your offering for advertisers?

I understand that technical language and acronyms are a necessary tool in describing many of the businesses and product features, but I predict that they will mean a lot more if used judiciously. In fact, the jargon is more likely to stick in people’s heads in a resonant way if they are juxtaposed with and supported by common language.

We’re not talking about scoring style points here. We’re talking about economic survival. In a sector that is marked by commoditization, employing vagueness in communicating the distinctiveness of your brand—presuming that your brand has some form of distinction to tout—is public relations folly.

How do you expect to win over a prospect base as well as key influencers like journalists and analysts if you sound like every other fly-by-night point solution?
As the enlightened in this industry continue to tout the imperative of integrating and simplifying the marketing technology stack, a concurrent wave of simplifying marketing technology “speak” needs to emerge.

Because unless you somehow miraculously hit upon the golden, game-changing formula like the Zuckerbergs and Brin-Pages of the world, where the product is that transcendent, the ability to distill your brand to the most human terms possible may make a big difference in whether you wind up as contender or pretender.

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