There generally aren’t a lot of laughs available while reading the Sports Business Journal. On occasion there’s head-shaking; other times there’s amazement. Laughter? Not so much. Yesterday, however, I got a great laugh out of Terry Lefton’s column. Terry writes about sports marketing and is always a good read. His column entitled Time for some straight talk on marketing jargon – isn’t it? struck a topic that’s near and dear to me and makes a great point whether you’re in the sports business or not.
Every business has a vocabulary. Doctors ask for forceps, not the “scissor-thingee”. A short-order cook would respond to “two ruined with breath” and deliver 2 scrambled eggs with onions. Obviously the language of the web – servers, routers, HTML, CSS, etc. is not widely understood outside of the digital world but makes communication possible within it.
That said, Terry does a great job of pointing out often the language that is used to provide clarity can also be used to obfuscate. Whether it’s listening to a vendor pitch a product or to someone explaining why their strategy is a great idea, I’m always concerned when a lot of the language is the inbred vernacular that has neither real meaning nor for which there is a need. I guess they’re just trying to establish their bona fides by using it, although I can rattle off legal language but it doesn’t make me a lawyer.
You must learn the language of business – that of your specific field as well as business in general. However, learning how and when to use it is just as important as the vocabulary itself. Otherwise, we end up with a situation like the one below, that Terry lays out far better than I can:
Even though the thicket of vernacular has become a pandemic problem, that doesn’t mean we’re ready to punt. After all, this could be a new benchmark. Still, optimization could be mission critical, since we’re a bit above our pay grade here. Holistically speaking, if we can monetize this, it could be the best cross-platform paradigm since disintermediation. Actually, it’s unclear that we have a clear line of sight on this, but ping me; we’ll calendar some time, ideate some scenarios, and hopefully move the needle. And we’ve gotten this far without even mentioning the obvious need for consumer-facing synergies. So let’s add some bandwidth and let time be the variable; that’s the only way to ensure that this goes three-deep. At the end of the day, it is what it is.
So now that I’ve run that up the flagpole, are you saluting?