When you’re standing in a valley, you can’t see much beyond the mountains around you.
The metaphor is useful for technical marketing professionals in Silicon Valley. We’re surrounded by tech-savvy people. You go to a PTA meeting, and the parents around you work at Sun, or at start-ups. Where I live in Mountain View, Google gives the city free wi-fi. Our economy is based on technology, so new trends and developments are part of the daily texture. We use tech terminology as short-hand, and many people get it. This can be dangerous when we try to talk to the larger world.
I was talking with with a high-tech CEO the other day who reminded me of this risk. While obviously there are technology centers around the globe, not everyone is current on the same terms and trends. When this CEO talks about SaaS or “software-as-a-service” to business owners in other parts of the country, they sometimes look puzzled, then say “like my ASP?” or “like my outsourced Business Processing Optimization?”
Avoiding jargon is always a good idea – even when the jargon seems to have crossed over into the mainstream locally. When the sale is a highly technical one, the challenge is even greater, while the temptation to spend time talking about the technology is very strong. Striking the right balance, depending on the audience, is the real art behind technical marketing.