Working from Dublin for a week got me thinking about the differences and nuances in language and slang in different parts of the world. After meeting with a potential client in the UK, we started talking about what types of visual design and content the Irish and the Brits respond well to, as opposed to what Americans respond well to. The crux of the conversation was that is all boils down to how we’re accustomed to processing information.
But back to language. That conversation also made me think about what role language plays in marketing and sales. Because let’s face it – if you’re not speaking to a customer in their language, you’re not going to make a meaningful connection with them. And that is one thing that is absolutely integral in developing repertoire with a consumer.
Understanding the customer’s perspective
So many things play a factor in how and in what ways we communicate with one another: geographic location, cultural influences, the media and popular culture, work industries – even technology. A key to developing a strong connection with your market is to understand their language. And not necessarily a native tongue, but the slang and verbiage that they use to communicate with one another.
Important factors to take note of when researching a segment’s language:
- Frequently used words or phrases
- Mediums for communication (email, television, blogs, forums)
Variances of Speech
You might think that language stays consistent within countries, and if you do, you’re wrong. Pointing out the obvious, look at the United States. I grew up in north Louisiana, and country twangs weren’t foreign to me. However, if you drove 5 hours south to the smaller communities on the delta, you’d be hard pressed to even guess what language they were speaking (HINT: it was English!).
The point is, language changes dramatically from not only region to region, but from state to state, and from community to community.
Understanding the Connection Between Language and Sales
Customers sometimes buy products based on merit – price, peer referrals, good specifications. But a large part of what tips a prospect into being a customer is intangible – it’s an emotional connection to a product or a company, a perceived idea of what a product or service is going to achieve. How your company relates to its customers is vital to forming and nurturing a bond that will eventually turn them into a paying customer.
When introducing your product to a potential customer for the first time, language is the channel of communication that drives people to form a connection with your product. Price, peer referrals, and good specs will further convince someone to buy your product, but language and the way you communicate them will keep them around long enough for those selling points to matter.