Every industry has its code; the jargon that serves as shorthand for everything from concepts and instructions to products and roles. If you’ve been working in your industry for a while, you may not even remember a time when those phrases and acronyms weren’t part of your every day vocabulary. Rather than showing off your skills and experience, using industry jargon in your marketing can be flat out dangerous. Industry specific terms can help your audience understand quite complex concepts in just a few words – as long as they’re in the know. For people who aren’t in the know, those terms mean nothing. If you’re not careful with your jargon, your marketing could push potential customers into the arms of your competitors.
When is jargon ok to use?
Jargon exists in every industry, from the technical language of IT and engineering to the specifics of blogging and craft. As you might have guessed, jargon is ok to use when you’re selling a technical product to a technical audience. This is when jargon gets some credibility and becomes terminology. Terminology helps you describe something precisely and, more often than not, simpler substitutes just don’t exist. Another common use of jargon is acronyms. When using acronyms, explain the term in full with the acronym following in parentheses. You only have to explain it once, but make sure you’re consistent in how you present it.
Jargon busting tips
If your marketing needs to appeal to a wide audience, get it proofread by someone who knows nothing about your industry. Ask them to highlight any phrases they don’t understand. You can then either explain them or exchange them for simpler language. If your marketing is talking to a niche audience, an audience who will understand the language of your industry, then it’s important to still exercise some caution. Using industry jargon in your marketing can be like using anchovies in your cooking. The right amount will add depth. Too much will have people searching for alternatives. Are you conscious of how much jargon you use when talking to clients? Or is using industry lingo as natural as breathing?