Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Soap Opera

I’ve worked in technology marketing for most of my career, and have always harbored a lingering envy for my consumer brethren. After all, they get to play with bongo bucks in the mass media, peddling aspirational lifestyles to young moms to sell soap. I get to drone on about SOAP message headers to Web services developers to sell SOA governance applications. It just doesn’t seem fair.

But over the last few years technology companies have wised-up to the wishful aspirations of even the geekiest of IT professionals, and have tried borrowing a page from the consumer marketing playbook. The results in press releases, whitepapers, and corporate reports are mostly painful and embarrassing – just visit the average software company’s homepage if you’ve doubts. Better yet, try Andrew Davidson’s marketing gibberish generator for a few simulated paragraphs of the stuff I’m referring to. Dack’s has a pithier version of the same.

Why does this happen? I think it’s a simultaneous desire to inflate value, combined with a wrongheaded notion that good marketing is monolithic. But more on the diagnosis later – for now, lets cut straight to a cure. A few years back Deliotte Consulting developed software designed to test for gibberish before it hits the wire or website: bullfighter. Give it a try.

No comments: