Trending Now

The Internet industry sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher from the classic Peanuts TV show of a better age gone by? Take a listen to Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice and see if this jogs your memory. And for those who have not seen these great cartoon classics, you really should. The whole point of the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher was to mimic the “blah, blah, blah” we all hear when we listen to certain people and certain types of people. Of course, the kids in the cartoons understood just what the teacher was saying but the rest of us needed their translation to get it. It’s funny in some ways and sad in others. Ever heard someone say “All I heard was waa, waa, waa, waa, waa”? You can thank Charles Schultz for that part of the American lexicon. So how does this relate to Internet marketing, you ask? That’s a fine question and one that shows you are paying attention.

What is happening today is that the knowledge gap between those in the Internet marketing business and those who need the knowledge to be put to work for their business (SMBs for example) is widening.

I was training a group of employees for a client the other day, and I was amazed as always at the difference between what I assume they know and what they actually do know. This is not a knock on these folks at all because they all are good employees who do their jobs well. They are smart people. What I discovered is that I am the dumb one.

As I watched their faces contort when I mentioned some of the options for business that Twitter offers, I was thinking to myself “Really? This is new to them?” but afterward, something one of them said hit me right between the eyes.

This particular employee is an admitted Internet novice but she’s a smart lady. As a result of these training sessions that her employer had the foresight and intelligence to provide to his best and brightest team members, she said she started to do some reading about Internet marketing and about the industry in general.

Honestly, I was as surprised by this claim as I was encouraged. What she said, though, is that while she recognized the names and the terms she was acquiring through our training time, she was quickly lost in the rest of the “mumbo jumbo” that accompanies these terms. Thankfully, she clarified that she didn’t feel that way when learning from me, so after a silent, internal sigh of relief, I probed some more.

I essentially walked away from the conversation being more convicted than ever that the Internet marketing industry is getting its message to the masses about as effectively as Charlie Brown’s teacher. By the way, that’s not a good thing.

We talk on and on about things and make two very dangerous assumptions.

1. We are interesting.


2. People get what we are saying.

You know what people say about what happens when you assume right? If not, take another trip down memory lane with me as we let Felix Unger of the classic sitcom “The Odd Couple” explain the dangers of assuming while trying to defend his roommate, Oscar Madison in court. In case you can’t guess, Felix is not a lawyer by trade. It’s worth the watch.

So back to the point at hand. Our industry-speak is not sufficient for the masses. Honestly, we are no different than any other industry that has its own lexicon. Our trouble is that we tend to look down our noses at those who “don’t get it” rather than simply do like Felix did in court when the judge asked him to “talk smaller.”

So all I ask today is that when you go about your life in the Internet marketing world and you come across the uninitiated, be kind. Don’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Don’t assume that you are inherently interesting and people simply get what your saying because it makes perfect sense to you.

No, instead slow down and talk to people where they are. Can you guess what happens there? Business happens. In fact, good business happens there. People like to be in the know. Help them get that way by not sounding like a boorish drone and put it into language they can understand an embrace.
If all of us do this more often, I bet we would be surprised at how smart the rest of the world really is and how much they want to do business with us.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top Back to top