Communicating with Clarity: Good marketers don't proclaim, they explain.

We've all, at one time or another, walked in on two people in the middle of a conversation and didn't quite understand what they were talking about. It's frustrating, especially if they don't acknowledge my presence and back up just a little, fill me in.

I've visited business webpages before that made the assumption I knew who they were, what they offered and that they were the best in their field. But really, I didn't know the first thing about them. And even if I had heard of their brand before, I certainly wasn't ready to click on their "Buy Now" button until I had been given further information. I had a lot of unanswered questions, and I needed clarity. 

We proclaim and proclaim and proclaim, and we don't give people the clarity that they need so that they can understand. And with that understanding, make a solid decision.

— Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

This excerpt comes from session 8 (MMC5259 Customer Relationships and Effective Lead Management) of the Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program created by the University of Florida and MECLABS Institute.  The full session aims to introduce students to the unique and unprecedented nature of the web and how it can be used as a living laboratory to study the cognitive decision process of our customers and predict their future behavior.


Flint McGlaughlin: Let's suppose you meet somebody. You've probably had this experience. It's a new person, and initially it goes well. Later, there are things they say, maybe it's the way they text you, maybe it's the way they get upset so easily about some particular trivial moment in a conversation, but you start to see disjunction, and this disjunction confuses you. You wonder, “well, wait a second …,” and you know — with the confusion — you just don't know whether or not you can trust them.

We know that consistency is tightly connected to trust, and I can tell you that there are some principles we teach in our optimization course and in our value proposition course around how you develop trust. For instance, just for instance, I'm not teaching it now. When you speak about yourself, use quantitative statements instead of qualitative statements. You can tell me you have 116,000 products, but when you tell me you're the best, I get suspicious. Give me a fact that I can believe. And if you're going to brag about yourself in a qualitative way, do it through somebody else's voice. That's how it works in the real world too among people that meet each other.

Now, I am not here to teach you how to build trust using a careful selection of language. That's in other courses that connect to what we're doing here right now. What I am here to do is to emphasize that if they don't understand, they can't believe. Most of us in our marketing spend way too many times not explaining, but just the opposite — proclaiming. We proclaim and proclaim and proclaim, and we don't give people the clarity that they need so that they can understand and with that understanding make a solid decision.

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