Mind Readings: Effective Writing Techniques for Marketing

Marketers don’t write well. This is generally accepted, at least insofar as the many sessions at conferences offering writing help to marketers. One technique is sorely missing; give a listen to hear how I apply it to things like NFTs and attribution models.

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marketers don’t really write well.

I mean, this is kind of a generally accepted thing.

And there’s a lot of variance.

Obviously, there’s some marketers who are fantastic writers who are novelists and poets, and they’re using their skills in the marketing realm.

Then there’s a whole bunch of folks who’s writing is not as, as helpful for convincing people that they need your product or service.

And I got to thinking about this, because reading some copy recently in a marketing promotion going, Ah, that that’s not how I would say that.

Now, I don’t know whether that worked or not.

But I know from a writing perspective, and an understanding perspective, that what had been written was not great.

And it got me thinking, there really are some core critical writing skills in marketing.

There’s obviously the basic stuff like good grammar, spellcheck and things like that.

But a skill that I see a distinct absence of, in marketing writing are the skills around things like analogies and metaphors and similes, because those tools help us take something that a prospective customer knows and converts it into something they don’t know.

Right, and allows them to understand something they don’t know when it’s written really well.

And it’s a dramatically underused skill.

Because I see it relatively rarely in marketing.

I wish I saw it more.

For example, let’s take a an arcane technique of site of some kind, right? And how would we explain this? So let’s take something like a gradient descent, that’s, that’s too much.

Let’s take something like basic attribution analysis, right, attribution analysis, where somebody gets credit for what gets credit for the last for the conversion.

And we have first touch, which is doesn’t really need an analogy, right? So the first thing somebody did we have last such the last thing somebody did time decay.

I think as a useful example, here.

When you think of time decay as an attribution method, it means it’s a halflife formula.

It’s essentially a decay formula that says every, whatever period, cut the credit that something gets by half and by half by half by half over time until the this is effectively, effectively zero.

Well, time decay is a scientific concept as a mathematical concept.

And it’s not something the average person, particularly somebody who’s not specializing in analytics is going to have a lot of experience with.

So how would you explain time decay to somebody else? Well, an easy way to help someone conceptualize it would be imagine you have a bin of like Lego blocks, you take out half.

Okay? That would be the amount of customer activity from your marketing channels after one week.

And then another week goes by you take out another half of the remaining bricks.

That’s what happens after two weeks.

And another week goes by and take another half of the bricks out of this container you’ve got.

And what we’ve got here is essentially a metaphor, right? The the box of bricks is the metaphor for how time decay works.

And what’s left after each week, that’s all the credit you have left to assign to your marketing channels that week, and another week goes by take out half of the bricks and so on and so forth.

And the further back in time you go, the fewer bricks there are in the box that you can give as credit.

And helping somebody understand that means they will understand the attribution method when when time decay is an appropriate method for doing attribution analysis, and when it isn’t, but if you don’t have access to the mental tools of simile and metaphor and analogy, it’s very challenging for somebody to understand it and adopted into their mind frame, let’s say clubhouse for example.

How would How would you describe clubhouse to a marketer to who’s not using social audio? I call it the world’s longest lease focus conference call.

Right and there’s multiple rooms you can stop in to listen to other people’s conference calls.

Now, granted, if I was marketing club house, this would not be a particularly appealing description, but it is an accurate description and this is a powerful analogy because suddenly you are understand what you’re getting into the moment you open this app, you know exactly what it’s going to sound like.

You have a good sense of what, how people are going to behave.

Christopher Penn 5:11

And so there’s no surprises, and then it’s up to you, obviously to to make the base analogy more appealing.

But once you understand that it’s a conference call, you don’t have to work very hard mentally to understand why you might or might not want to join it.

Take something really technologically complicated, like NF T’s.

What is an NF? T? analogy, there’s a couple of different analogies one is, it’s like a software license, right.

So every time you install a new piece of software, you get this license that says, you know, your your firstborn children belong to Microsoft, or whatever.

And you click OK.

Because you don’t need any way, just click OK.

But that’s a license for you to use that software, it’s not a certificate of ownership, you don’t own Microsoft Word, you have a license to use it.

Likewise, when someone issues an NFT, it is like a license to the underlying asset, you know, artwork, music, whatever, you have a license for it, but you don’t own it.

And the second part is like a certificate of authenticity, right? If you’re bought a collectible, like a baseball, or one of those signed by somebody comes with a certificate of authenticity that says so and so actually signed this thing.

And that gives it value because then if somebody else has one just like it, but they don’t have that certificate, they can’t prove that so and so actually signed that if it looks functionally identical, because there’s some really good forgers out there.

And NFT is a combination of those two things is a software license.

And it’s certificate authenticity, it’s just it’s a license of authenticity, you buy it, to say that you are a a funder, almost like a venture capitalist, you’re funding this artist and they’ve in turn given you almost like a stock certificate in their, their piece of art, you don’t own it, but you can trade it, you can sell it for more money later on, you can hold on to it.

And an awful lot of time its value will be zero, right? It was it will decline to zero.

So very much like stock.

So again, analogy, a very powerful tool for describing a reality that people don’t have yet in their heads.

The challenge you’ll run into, is that there are some things that are atomic mean you can’t transfer them and you can’t break them down any further.

A pomegranate.

If you’ve never had a pomegranate, there is no amount of description I can give you that will tell you accurately how it tastes none.

The taste is atomic, right? You either know it or you don’t.

And if you’ve tasted a pomegranate, just be saying that word evokes that memory and nothing else needs to be said artistica pomegranate, okay.

If you if you have that, that those atomic concepts are things that are experiential, that you can’t write about effectively, you can either be the reader has knowledge or does not have knowledge.

But if I could give marketers any one piece of advice it would be improve those writing skills around metaphor and simile and analogy, because it will dramatically improve your ability to communicate with an audience about the concepts you need to get into their head.

Right.

So give that some thought.


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