Lesson 70 from The AEC Professional's Guide!
When it comes to marketing content, we take lessons from the best-selling novelists. Did you know that best sellers of any genre have 4.5 letters-per-word or fewer? Most were fewer than 4.3. In fact, the lower it was, the better the seller. Said another way, you should use short words if you want people to read what you write.
However, as engineers and design professionals, you were trained to write using large words and industry jargon. Like writing at an eighth- to tenth-grade level, using smaller words helps your readers. When you use gigantic audacious words in long run on sentences that produce in the reader the necessity to have to decipher the sentence more than a few times before conquering its subject matter, you become unintelligible. Or, when you use big words in long sentences it causes the reader to work too hard.
Why say ‘utilize’ when you can say ‘use?’ Instead of ‘perform,’ use ‘do.’ Rather than ‘inception,’ use ‘start.’ Say ‘move’ instead of ‘relocate.’
As Mark Twain once said, “Why should I write ‘metropolis’ when I get paid the same for ‘city’?”
I've observed planning, strategy, proposal writing, promotions, and all things marketing at companies of every size. I've learned the following best practices remain consistent, no matter the size of the organization.
Communication, leadership, strategy, resources, metrics, and go/no-go are all essential gears in the AEC marketing engine. How these gears are sized may vary, but they all must be in place for your firm's long-term sustainable success.
This post was adapted from "Best Practices - Working With Varied Firm Sizes in A/E/C Marketing," Marketer, December 2021, pages 42-43
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC