Recent events make me feel as though peace on earth, goodwill toward men (and especially women) hang in the balance — and by a thread — in more than one city and square throughout the Middle East.
From the safe distance of TV news, the recent protests in Egypt appeared remarkably peaceful and hopeful. But listen closely and you learned that more than 360 people died during those weeks as Tahrir Square became Liberation Square.
Inspiring video of men and women celebrating, side by side, their desire for self-determination was later overshadowed by news reports of women being assaulted by male gangs. Civil disobedience. Animalistic mayhem. A shockingly fine line.
If you’re like me, you hope, root, even pray that social and political change in Egypt and Tunisia, as it comes, takes the form of more open governments and societies, plus greater equality and respect among races, religions and genders.
If it goes the other way — as seems to be a real possibility in Libya — one shudders to think what insults to humanity the news reports will bring.
What’s In Our Words
While pondering the fragility of civility halfway around the world, I find myself increasingly puzzled by the bellicose language marketing and sales professionals often use to describe the work we do.
We slice and dice audiences demographically to target them with campaigns. Then we blast them with e-mails in hopes of driving them to squeeze pages. I read a blog post this week in which a marketer, extolling the value of lead nurturing, reminded his readers that the goal of nurturing leads was so they could eventually be attacked by Sales.
Squeeze pages? Nurturing in order to attack? C’mon, marketers. Let’s give peace a chance.
What’s say we take a cue from the Buddhist concept of “right speech” and strive for a more mindful and peaceful lingo for the work we do. Instead of targeting prospective customers like prey, maybe we approach them and strive to attract them by adding value for them. Instead of blasting e-mails, perhaps we just send or distribute those messages. Rather than drive people to squeeze pages (like cattle to slaughter?), we could simply offer registration or landing pages, where they can choose to interact with our content and further engage with our brands.
Small stuff? Absolutely. A trifle in the great scheme. Perhaps on the order of a butterfly beating its wings.
But then again, especially if you consider yourself a content marketer, don’t we pride ourselves on inviting audiences into engagement, not blitzing and bludgeoning them with purely self-serving promotion?
If so, then in a world needing all the harmony it can get, maybe we marketers can do our small part by bringing more peace and civility to our industry’s argot.
What do you think? Is my head getting softer than my heart here? Or do you have a least-favorite example of how we seem to favor the language of war and violence in marketing and sales? I’d welcome and appreciate your comments and discussion.
Simon Howden’s portfolio: