Meeting their knowledge isn’t dumbing down

Imagine the average math professor being asked to lecture to kindergartners. As he described chaos theory, the group would become so baffled and bored that it would revert to real chaos. Now imagine that one of your company’s engineers is sitting across the table from one of your product’s end-users. Would they have a mutually satisfying conversation?

For marketing materials to be effective, they must be written in language that’s right for the reader. While many people react by protesting they shouldn’t have to “dumb it down,” that terrible phrase fails to describe what they’re doing. They aren’t “dumbing” anything down … they’re simply presenting the information 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, to excite, to motivate, to overcome inertia, it can’t come 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.