Friday, September 24, 2010

The Worst Word To Use In Front Of Marketers

Funny, since I was thinking about this post as I walked to a lunch with a friend in fundraising and she mentioned the same issue. And when she mentioned the issue, she used the exact same word.

What's the word? It's... JUST.

"Just" is a hateful word that means, in effect, "What you do is easy."

Examples: "Just set up a webinar so fifty of our prospects can ..." "Just write a white paper on this and have CFOs of ..." "Just get a speaking engagement at ..." or, using my fundraising friend's frustrated comment, "Just get ten percent of our members to make x-sized donations to the campaign."

What could be so hard about that? The idea is the hard part, right? The other person JUST needs to execute the idea.

As a marketing guy, I'm in the privileged position of hearing non-marketers talk about their marketing needs and their marketing people a lot. I hear the word "just" constantly. As in, "Why can't my marketing person just..." Often what follows is the equivalent of "...bicycle to Spain on a pogo stick." Not quite sure why you want to go there, but it's obvious that neither of the tactics you conflated will get you there.

Now, I know that people generally think what they do is hard and what other people do is easy (regardless of how much the other people are paid to do the easy work … or how much specific training they might have), but I believe that marketing people hear the word "just" more than any others. (Though now I wonder if fundraising people hear it more.)

Anyway... Here's the deal: The word "just" doesn't mean the other person's task is easy. It means that you likely do not understand what it would take to get that task done. And there is a word for people who don't understand something. That word is "ignorant."

In short: The next time you are about to use the word "just", ask, instead, "how" they would accomplish the task or realize the desired outcome. The solution might not be as straightforward as you think and, well, everyone just might learn something.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, we've known this for a long time, or was I just saying?