Now, Could You Explain Your Process in English?

My son is a brilliant chemist with a Master’s Degree in Food Science Technology. Despite his advanced education and superior knowledge he is able to communicate with great clarity all the processes and procedures involved in his highly technical food and beverage research. So why is it so very difficult – if not impossible – to get “professionals” in the marketing and communications industry to speak plain English?

Between the contrived language, artificial terms and unnecessary acronyms (UAs) you need a secret decoder ring just to know what they are talking about.

Think I am kidding, or worse, exaggerating? Fine. Following is a series of actual, unedited communications from industry professionals that I have either received in my inbox or read in industry articles and white papers over the past week. Do you know what they are talking about?

This first one is an actual e-mail to me from a vendor.

Right now we are in the process of performing QA in our virtual development environment. Once that is complete, and browsers have been verified we will be ready to schedule a code push. The team can then proceed with regression testing to ensure no other impacts.

If you are under the impression you have just read a transcript from a NASA pre-launch sequence, you would be wrong.

How about this copy from an article in an advertising trade magazine:

But even if reviews offer structured data, it’s not easy to make them an integral part of a company’s internal process and the ones who do have well-defined methods... We use tools to track buzz, track mentions of products and brands and there’s a method to the madness but I can’t say anyone’s discovered it.

Or that anyone understands what you are talking about.

And then there is this:

This data will be used to contextualize the value of integrated business intelligence functionalities and their ability to drive additional cost savings for enterprise IT and telecom departments. Recommended actions: Develop or acquire a full telecom lifecycle management solution to manage the enterprise telecom and network deployment… Choose a solution with a pre-integrated BI solution in place… Implement role-based assignments for telecom and IT-related spend reports.

Yeah, that’s what I would do.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am not as smart as I think I am. But just consider this: If I am in the industry and don’t understand what these people are saying, what chance to those outside our industry have? Unless of course you are simply trying to fool them with your idiomatic doubletalk and gelatinous jabberwocky.

Regardless, just stop it.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.