The truck’s magnetic sign said, “Mike’s Escort Service,” in Lexington, Mississippi. What?!
Now, given the revolving amber lights on top, this clearly refers to escorting wide-load shipments on the highway — not operating a prostitution ring out of a pickup truck — but it reminded me of how we all tend to overuse industry jargon.
SEO. ROI. Blueline. Retweet. Clickthrough rate. Marketing — and every industry — is filled with jargon that outsiders don’t understand. That’s OK; this common language helps us bond with fellow professionals. But if one of those confused outsiders happens to be a prospective client, you’re probably losing business.
As a computer consultant in high school and college, I learned that you have to explain things in a way the client and other stakeholders will understand. It turns out I have a talent for translating between business people and tech geeks — kind of like the “taking the specs from the customers to the engineers” guy in Office Space…but effective.
Industries have trade associations and languages and a whole subculture. If you’re a pilot-car operator, you’re probably a member of CVSA or SCRA. There’s a website with escort videos (PilotCar.tv) and even a best practices manual from the federal government. What’s a “high pole“? I have no idea.
What’s some of the jargon you use every day?