In June, 2013, clarity should be a mandatory feature of Marketing Communications (MARCOM) collateral for software products produced by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). The “big data” controversy should provide product marketing management with the rationale they need to stop the typical practice of filling promotional pieces with undefined acronyms and highly stylized uses of otherwise common terms.
How much print has been produced on simply the lack of clarity around the term “metadata”, within the context of this controversy?
But the “metadata” fog is nothing new. Just think about the client server era of ISV products, and remember the repetitive misuse of the terms “child”, “children”, “parent” and even “siblings.” ISVs intended each of these terms to represent software components of a complete system, and, further, to describe the relationship between these components (usually as a method of representing permissions and capabilities). But for the general public, the stylized use of these terms amounted to an unexpected obstacle between getting an audience to focus on products and, then, getting them to actual understand their brand.
This example is simply one of hundreds of stylized uses of common terms for technology communications. When one of these stylized terms prompts a substantial misunderstanding, as is the present case for “metadata”, the usefulness of the practice should be called into question. Technology communicators must adhere to a common set of principles of style (in fact, most MARCOM professionals already do this). But the principles, themselves, should be built around the clarity objective we voiced at the start of this post.
We think a likely benefit of approaching technology MARCOM projects with an intention to communicate, in plain language (English, French, Spanish, whatever), will be more of the type of results ISVs are usually after, meaning opportunities to engage with prospects who have been educated with a correct understanding about products and how they should be successfully applied to appropriate requirements.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved