We are regularly bombarded with technological innovations, updated terminology and fresh apps designed for computers, businesses or even for day-to-day folks like you and me. They are invented to lubricate the pole we have to slide down in every-day-life, and are deemed essential to avoid emotional or financial chaffing.
To appeal to the masses though, vast amounts of time and money are spent planning how these things need to be marketed and their benefits properly explained. All well and good, but the new terminology can be misleading to some of us who grew up in the last century.
Now-a-days the words dongle or stiffie are perfectly acceptable at Sunday-school picnics without eliciting a sharp clip behind the ear and the ‘wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap’ routine. Out of respect to The Angry Orange, a lie is no longer a lie but an alternative fact.
Schoolchildren may be thrilled to know that they’re not schoolchildren any more, but are labeled learners, irrespective of whether they do or not. The ambiguity or adaptation of words like tweet, unfriend, bundle, selfie and blue teeth also spring to mind.
While we’re discussing the torturing of words and wrangling of terminology, it’s amazing how lawyers – using law-speak and tautology – can create a picket fence out of a single pole. It appears that part of their degree involves mastering the art of taking a simple sentence and transforming it into the most complicated, all-encompassing string of terms and phrases which seldom make sense, the grammatical aspect hereinafter referred to as ‘poor’ notwithstanding.
Hell, even an old-school term like ‘marketing’ can be baffling. It’s a word shamelessly bandied about from stuffy boardrooms to drunken barbeques under the assumption that folks understand it. So, what does this rather pretentious word actually encompass?
So, grasping the nettle firmly between the teeth I consulted my tried and tested Duck ’n Fiddle’s Explanation of Everything. This very rare and cherished compendium is a first edition, dating back to King Arthur’s time, and was signed by his brother Bob. So here’s a crash-course in ‘Marketing for Mugs 101’.
A lady – let’s call her Sue – strolls into a gathering and spots a rather yummy guy across the room. She sidles up and, flapping her lashes, says, “I’m Sue. Would you like to party?” That is Direct Marketing.
She’s at a hen party with a few of her friends, and alerts them to a good-looking hunk of beefcake further along the bar-counter. One of them goes up to him and, pointing, says, “Great news! That is Sue. She likes to party – anywhere!” That’s Mainstream Advertising.
Spotting a likely looking conquest at the annual school sports day, she casually asks him for his phone number. The next day she gives him a call. “Sue here from yesterday. If you want to party, Press 1.” This is Telemarketing.
She sees a distinguished-looking prospect at an art gallery function. Threading her way through the crowd, she brushes up against him and seductively pours him a drink. “Hi. Love your tie,” she says, flashing her perfect snappers. “May I?” she purrs, straightening it. “I’m Sue, by the way…” That’s Public Relations.
With decals festooning the doors of her funky little Fiat 500, and to the head-spinning doef doef doef of her oversized woofers, she cruises slowly past the outdoor pubs along the sunset strip. “WANNA PARTiE? CALL SUZiE!” the decals entice. This is called Outdoor Advertising.
While, at another party, this cool dude elbows his way through the throng towards her. “You must be Sue,” he beams. “I hear you like to party.” This is Brand Recognition.
She’s having a girls-night-out dinner when her hunk-alert radar picks up a hottie at the next table. It’s obvious he fancies her too, and things are looking up, but she inexplicably convinces him to rather go home with her friend. This is a Sales Rep.
As it turns out, her friend didn’t really do it for him, so the next day the hunk phones up Sue for help. This is known as Tech Support.
She’s driving off to yet another party (she gets around a bit, does our Sue), and it suddenly occurs to her that there must be dozens of eligible men languishing in front of their TVs in the apartments around her. With hazard lights flashing she pulls over, pumps up her woofers and, removing her T-shirt, climbs onto the roof. “Hey guys!” she yells up and down the street. “I’m Sue and I like to party!” That is Facebook.
Pretty simple, really.