Is your tech jargon costing you customers? Part Two

In Part One, we argued that when marketing their products, tech companies should resist the tendency to over-describe them, and be careful about using technical jargon. In this part, we look at whether this still applies to B2B.

Do B2B buyers need a different diet?

A little while ago, we published our 5 minute introduction to B2B marketing. In that article, we pointed out that:

…in a B2B transaction, buyers are going to be more concerned with making the right choice…buying decisions tend to be less impulsive, better researched, and more rational. B2B buyers are more demanding and less prone to taking risks.

So, B2B buyers are more likely to be technically clued-up, and need more information to make a decision. Does that mean that B2B tech companies are safe to use lengthy, jargon-laden product descriptions in their marketing?

There are several reasons why we don’t think so.

  • Not all your buyers may understand tech jargon

The B2B buying process may involve several parties, but in many cases, they may have radically different levels of technical understanding. Copy such as, “Transparent multi-tenancy virtualisation platforms delivered on appliances and managed from the cloud”* might have the more technically-minded transfixed, but may leave other stakeholders scratching their heads.

*Lightly adapted from a real tech company ad.

  • Jargon is irritating to read

Research by several organisations indicates that even professionals don’t respond well to jargon-filled marketing copy. Using too much jargon, even if your readers understand it, makes reading your copy like wading through treacle. If there’s one thing your B2B buyer doesn’t want to do, it’s spend precious time and energy for an uncertain reward.

  • B2B buyers still need to be told the benefits

In the first part of this post, we referenced the marketing maxim of selling the benefits, not the product. Despite the different needs of B2B buyers, this rule still applies. B2B marketing copy shouldn’t leave your audience guessing how you will improve their business or working lives. That stage should be done for them.

We think that jargon can be an indicator of how well you’re doing this. A lot of jargon probably means that you’re focusing on the product, and they may be at the expense of explaining its benefits.

The case for some tech jargon

To summarise: we think tech companies use far too much jargon. It’s boring to read, it may be gobbledegook for some of your audience, and it makes you focus on the product rather than the benefits. But hang on — let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Jargon still has its place in tech marketing.

In B2B, without some technical terms, you risk looking like lightweights who don’t understand your own industry. And removing every technical term will leave your copy bland and lacking in specifics. Judicious use of jargon can also help to convey ideas succinctly, making your copy shorter and more efficient.

Where does that leave us?

The keys are to recognise that a little jargon goes a long way and to know your audience. To judge how much is appropriate, why not talk to your buyers? In a ten-minute phone call, you can gain a wealth of feedback on what sort of language they naturally use and more accurately gauge the correct level.

B2C learned long ago that exhausting technical descriptions weren’t what their buyers wanted. With a bit of moderation, B2B businesses could learn from them.

With 20 years’ industry experience, the CEC Marketing have worked in a range of sectors. However, we specialise in marketing for technology companies. Whether you’re looking for help with an email campaign, ethical telemarketing, sourcing data or anything else marketing-related, we’d  love to talk to you.