Stay on Target

Dart Hitting Bulls EyeOne of the biggest challenges that I have when working with clients is to keep disciplining them (and myself) to keep things simple.  We are always so tempted to impress, tripping over ourselves to ensure that our potential clients perceive us to be authoritative, credible and subject matter experts – to our own detriment, as we end up hiding the simple, explicit message of our true expertise under verbosity and unnecessary cleverness.  We lose sight of our target and our goals.

We’ve recently been treated to the Australian TV series “Rake” about a well-meaning, but hopelessly ill-fated criminal lawyer.  One of the episodes is about a retired English school teacher who laments the abuse and loss of meaning in the English language in modern times.  Defending the teacher on serious charges, Cleaver Greene (our ill-fated criminal lawyer), refers to recent (real-life) incidents where meaning has been sacrificed for novelty:

  • In a report on interrogation activities at Abu Ghraib, the CIA referred to a “diminished verbal response capability”.  When asked for clarification on what this term meant, the answer was: a whimper!
  • The Pentagon described a plane crash as an “unintentional flight into the ground”! Duh!

We may laugh, but these are sad and extreme examples of how we use language to spin what is actually a very simple, clear concept.  Why would we want to blow smoke up our clients’ sit-upons? Actually, on this matter (the blowing of smoke), you may start to think that I watch an ENORMOUS amount of TV, but I happened to catch an episode of QI in passing and they were talking about a medically-accepted Victorian cure for drowning: literally, blowing smoke up the bottom of a person who had drowned!  Apparently, there was sufficient empirical evidence to prove that this cured drowning!

But back to the subject at hand: when crafting our marketing message, when identifying our niche, it is essential that we keep the language and message clear and simple.  As Winston Churchill said:

“Tell them what you want to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you have told them.”

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About MH Consulting

MH Consulting is a specialist Marketing & PR Consultancy to the Coaching & Mentoring industry in South Africa. In addition to working with select clients who have approached us to handle their accounts, We run a specialised workshop: Market Your Practice Without Spending a Cent© on request to groups. About Megan Hudson (Owner): Megan has a degree in Politics and Languages, and spent most of her early career in the fields of Marketing and Advertising. She qualified as a coach in 2001, and ran a successful practice until about 2007. She is also a qualified Ethologist, with a degree through an Onderstepoort-affiliated body, as well as having studied Psychology though UNISA. She continues to reflect on the close similarities between the study of politics, and animal and human behaviour. Megan's guiding principles are Integrity and Aesthetics. In addition to being retained by COMENSA (the national professional body for coaches and mentors in South Africa) on a national basis in Marketing & PR, she runs a number of successful businesses including a property business, a specialist marketing consultancy, a marketing training company (developed in 2001) aimed at SME’s but tailored specifically to Coaches & Mentors. Megan has also had an online business since 2004, which is an on-going guinea pig for many of the tricks that she teaches her students. She strongly believes in contributing to her country and to its growth, and runs her Marketing course free of charge for a number of non-profit organisations. Because it delivers immediate results, the SME's that she works with are able to grow their businesses, earn more money and create more employment.
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