When we first learn to speak, we start with sounds and phonics. “Ca, ca, ma, ma.”

We then move on to words, “mama, dada.”

Next is word strings, “mama please.”

Then on to full sentences, “Hey Dad, can I borrow the car?”

These are the fundamentals of speech. But somewhere along the line, there is a fundamental breakdown. We discover the desire to “needlessly complicate” our communication. We start adding five -dollar words where fifty-cent words will do. We replace simplicity with needless complexity in the name of trying to impress our peers. But it’s not our peers that are buying from us, it’s our customers. Remember who you’re talking to, and then talk to them like they talk. We stop breaking things down into fundamentals, which leads to the fundamental breakdown of the fundamental breakdown.

I saw this often when I worked in corporate. We “needed” to use all of the latest buzzwords in our marketing because it made us hip, cool, and relevant. No, it didn’t. It made us generic, annoying, and forgettable.

Imagine McDonald’s asking you if you would like to increase the liquid volume capacity of your caffeinated beverage containing reservoir at the expense ratio of 9%. Wouldn’t it be nicer if they just asked if you wanted to upsize to a large for an extra ten cents?

Industry jargon and buzzwords can confuse prospective clients and a confused client rarely buys. Let’s simplify our marketing materials and make them easy to digest. I don’t know about you, but if I need a dictionary to understand your ad, I feel stupid. If you make me feel dumb, the odds of me wanting to do business with you will be really low.

Simplify, simplify, simplify. Your clients and prospects will thank you.

When in doubt, choose clear over clever.

Do you feel like you have to use jargon to be credible? What do you do in your marketing materials? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.