I have just come back from Gartner Symposium in Barcelona where they had a large IT vendor exhibition alongside the seminar and analyst 1-2-1 program.  I spent some time talking to a number of the sales reps on the stands and was given some of their marketing collateral which I read on the plan home. I was struck by how poorly or confusingly the products were described. It was almost as though the terminology was designed to make the writer seem clever and techy, rather than helping the reader understand the features and benefits of the product or service. In a world where now it is line of business managers who are making buying decisions, not just the CIO and their IT team, it is even more important to be able to talk in plain English (or American).

There is a great game which I learned at the Business Improv Lab, but we play it at home with our 2 children (Gabriella – 13 and Max – 11) .

Imagine that a 1,000 year old man has walked into the room.  You are then told which thing (eg fridge, camera, TV, microwave, car….) which you need explain to him. Tricky. Trickier than you think.

Try it now.  What did you discover?

You need get back to first principles. You need to assume nothing. You need to keep it simple.”

Perhaps every technology marketing company should play this game before they vomit up a load of marketing-techno-babble onto their website and brochures.  Here is one good and 2 awful examples.

We said a 1,000 year old man.  But what about a 100 year man?  Just 100 years ago was 1912 and below are examples of the latest car and plane.

BTW the same goes for the titles of the presentations. With 4 parallel streams running, analysts round tables and ITExpo Theatre sessions, you are fighting to get an audience to your session. Those few words will either draw a crowd or leave you with an empty room.  That empty room may be a just lost opportunity if the presenter is the company sales rep, but how embarrassing is it if you have persuaded a key customer to speak?

Here is my favourite title from the 4 days. It was a close run thing with some other fantastic contenders:

Developing Outcome-Driven Business Operating Anchor Models

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