Imagine what would happen if the average math professor found himself lecturing to kindergartners. His words about chaos theory would fly over the group’s heads and the room would revert to real chaos. Now put one of your company’s engineers across the table from one of your product’s end-users. The gulf isn’t nearly as wide as that between our professor and the tots, but it might as well be.
One of the most challenging tasks facing those who create marketing materials is putting them in language that’s right for the reader. That doesn’t necessarily mean dumbing them down; it means that information should be presented at a level and in words that are comfortable for the audience.
Effective copy requires that the reader understands your message. If it’s going to be informative, it has to excite, to motivate, to overcome inertia – but it can’t do any of those things if it comes across as a foreign language.
Too often, decision-makers demand that copy contain their profession’s verbiage. If the reader doesn’t understand it? He’s just not as intelligent. Of course, if he doesn’t understand it, he can’t – and won’t – read it. So what’s the point of using it? Write at the reader’s level, and your words will be more successful.