When you are marketing to an audience, logic would dictate that you need to speak to them in a language that they understand. This seems like an obvious statement. But I am talking about something far more subtle than sending a Spanish commercial to an English speaking audience. I am talking about a common mistake amongst marketing professionals, especially when dealing with the youth market.
Just like clothing styles that rotate in and out of fashion with the occasional new concept joining the cycle, the words used to describe the trends move in cycles as well. What was “cool” yesterday is “hot” today. Or maybe it’s “wicked” or “awesome”, “boss” or “sweet”. You most likely won’t find accurate definitions for these terms in Webster’s Dictionary. But, if you’re going to be in the marketing game you better know today’s definition of the word.
Having an understanding of your target’s demographics current linguistic nuisances not only establishes your credibility with your audience, but its helps them better understand your message. It also makes them feel like your message is for them, not aimed at them.
So how do you acquire such rapidly changing language skills?
You PARTICIPATE in conversation with your audience and when they are speaking you LISTEN.
These can’t bet forced conversations in marketing studies that would feel like some sort of discover channel study either. Real conversation and interaction with your target group is the only way to be sure you are speaking the same language. This interaction should take place in the normal surroundings of your audience. You can’t drag two teenagers into an office building and expect to get a feel for how they speak and interact with each other in the outside world. It must be real, not simulated interaction. Only then will you be able to convey your message properly, using words that feel right to your audience.
When these terms have incorporated themselves effortlessly in your various forms of communication and they feel natural to you, then you are ready to market to the group. But be warned, as soon as you think you’ve got it, you can be sure that the lingo is already changing. If you can’t keep up your better off having a translator then to even try.