Why Not Talk Like Real People Talk?

Doesn’t it make sense that if you want to relate to your customers, you talk to them the way that real human beings talk to each other? Rather than some form of marketing-speak that comes off as disconnected from reality?

The question is rhetorical. Of course it makes sense. And most people, thankfully, do that. If you can’t relate to your customers, or any audience you’re addressing, what you are saying or writing or conveying is pretty much a waste of everyone’s time.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you address customers in South Philly that you have to say “youse guys” or for someone in Texas, “y’all,” just because they may talk that way at times. Rather, you talk in a way that the average individual is likely to understand.

This came up when we saw a recent Wall Street Journal article about the Coca-Cola Company finally discontinuing its Tab diet cola. To its credit, Coca-Cola kept Tab going long after its market share was almost nonexistent, to satisfy some of the drink’s most loyal fans.

But at a point, a company has to do what it has to do with an underperforming product or brand. Which is why Coca-Cola decided to eliminate Tab, along with a number of other brands.

That’s all fine. But they quoted a marketing executive from Coca-Cola a couple of times in the article, and if she was accurately quoted, she seemed a bit tone-deaf and disconnected with the customer base.

First, she said, “We love our brands, make no mistake. We want to make sure that we create space for new.”

Isn’t that like telling your wife, “Honey, I love you, but I always want to make sure that I’m ready for something else if it comes along”? (That’s not how most of us would define “love.”)

Then the exec offered this: “I say to them (customers), come on the journey with us to what’s coming next in the reduced-calorie segment.”

Certainly nothing can make customers feel better when they lose a favorite brand than to start a “journey” to a new “segment.”

Bottom line: How you talk to your fellow marketers is probably not how you want to be talking to your customers. People can be resilient and fairly understanding if you talk straight with them.