Thursday, July 19, 2007

You know what I wish?

I wish that 95% of the people at work who ask me, “Can you proofread this to make sure I got the grammar right?” would come to me before that point and ask instead, “Can you work with me to make sure my message is on target, interesting, and provokes a measurable response?” It’s as if these people think that if I correct their comma splices and capitalize the right letters, it will improve their message. If all you’re asking me to do is tidy up your crap, you’re just going to end up with a tidy pile of crap.

Nine times out of ten, I end up re-writing the whole thing and bringing it back. It’s often better to do this than to bring back a one-page letter with more red ink on it than black. I hate going up to a Senior Vice President and ask them to start over from the beginning, but more often than not, it’s the best place to go. What’s your objective? Start there and move forward. Stay on task and on objective and you’ll be fine.

Not to sound all Jeff Goldblum-y from “Jurassic Park”, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. Just because you have been writing in some capacity since you were five doesn’t mean that you are able to write a letter to customers that gets across the message you intended.

I think that’s the thing people forget most about communication. Communication isn’t what you say, write, or blog. Communication is what’s understood by your audience. If they don’t “get it,” that’s your fault as a company/business/charity/pimp. If you’re the one intruding on their time, you had damn well better make sure that you’re sending out exactly what you want to say in a way that the customer wants to hear.

Every time you send a letter or an e-mail or a brochure or an STD to a customer, it’s marketing. Marketing only works when the right message is sent to the right person in the right medium. Actually, I guess I should say that marketing works optimally in this situation, but I’m from the old school that thinks that any marketing that isn’t optimal is a wasted marketing opportunity. And all the grammar fixes in the world can’t fix a wasted opportunity.

So, stick that in your pipe and capitalize it. End of my marketing/grammar sermon. Back to fun stuff.

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