Ladies, honestly, how many of you were great at physics, mechanics, geometry in school? I know I was not. So when I hear ‘You need to build a funnel”, my brain goes blank. Build? Ok… Where do I start? How does a building process look like? I am not an engineer. I never was.
I had a compulsory subject at high school called technical drawing (hello Soviet Russia). A task was to draw a 3D projection of an object, mapping three-dimensional points to a two-dimensional plane. Guess what happened? My dad was spending his evenings doing my homework while I reading my favourite book sitting next to him.
So let’s go back to business terms.
What if instead of ‘create a strategy to build your value proposition using a funnel aimed at your target audience’ I said to you:
‘Draw a portrait of your favourite customer, paint a picture for me.
Then, imagine you are creating a treat for them, a banquet. What is your recipe? What are your special ingredients? What is your secret sauce? What are you going to leave for dessert? How are you going to serve that? When? Are you going to create announcements? Send out the invitations? Stir up the interest? Who would you like to see on your guest list? What style are you going to use for your banquet? Is it a black-tie event? Is it a picnic? Goth party? Casual party for friends by the fireplace? Colours… Music, atmosphere…
Did that spark your imagination? How do you feel about your service, product or offer now? Would it be easier for you to market your value proposition when you approach it like that?
Ok, you might not like throwing parties… Find an image that is relevant to you – craft, interior design, shopping, assembling a perfect outfit.
The point is business language is filled with sports analogies, military terms and technical language which are not natural to the right, imaginative, creative brain, and us females.
“Business development by acquisition”
‘Winning the target market”
“Hitting the goal”
“SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats”. (Every time I needed to write a business plan in the past, the word ‘threat’ would send my nervous system into a fight/flight/freeze mode).
“Putting together the pipelines” (Ahh… sorry, what?)
Words and phrases like campaign, rally the troops, follow the leader, keep your powder dry, even recruitment, all have been borrowed from the military.
Terms like execute and deploy, strategy, engagement, approach, lines of attack, campaigns, groundwork, guard, intelligence, logistics, reinforcement, and advancement, escalation, and everybody’s favourite, targets.
The problem, though, is military language does not leave the room for discernment and spark the creativity or new ideas. This terminology was created for obedience and fast action.
We are not at war, however. We are in business. As entrepreneurs, consultants, coaches, marketers we go into business to share our skills and abilities, to provide, help, assist and service. If you are creating holistic, thoughtful purposeful products and services and sustainable business, more humane language could be more useful.
What are your thoughts, ladies?
*The article was originally published in Elephant Journal.