Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The curse of knowledge (and why we often talk rubbish)


Every company has great stories. Only problem, they don't have enough great storytellers.

For marketing ideas to stick, we need to shake off the Curse of Knowledge and become story tellers.

As we become experts, it becomes harder to imagine not knowing what we know, says Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick. We start using big words, acronyms, industry jargon and gobbledygook that no one can understand.

And it isn't just experts who speak in abstract, convoluted ways, he says in this interesting question and answer session at ITSMA.

Any expert can fall prey to the curse, even young ones. Ask my six-year old twins to explain Pokemon and you'll see this phenomenon starts early.

The trick is to overcome "the curse." Heath says sticky ideas tend to be:

  • simple
  • unexpected
  • concrete
  • credible
  • emotional (see my post "Say no to boring business Web sites.")
  • stories

    I love the example he uses of a client of his that was trying to perfect their business pitch for Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID).

    They kept talking about "enterprise mobility solutions," and blah, blah, blah ... my eyes are glazing over just typing those words.

    Then someone mentioned that this technology meant a law firm could attach a tag to an important contract and it would never get lost again. Bingo. A hospital could attach a tag to prescription drugs. A mother could attach a tag to each of her wild twins ...

    Thanks to Brian Carroll's blog, Start with a lead, for alerting me to this question and answer with Chip Heath at ITSMA.com. For some reading suggestions, check out the Made to Stick blog.

    Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power on Wednesday May 28 at 8 a.m.

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    1 comment:

    DJ said...

    Great post! I love Chip and Dan's new book too: http://onlinemarketerblog.com/?s=Heath%2C+Chip+and+Dan+-+Made+To+Stick