Floccinaucinihilipilification: You Do It to Yourself

There is a specific word in the English language for almost everything.

Like floccinaucinihilipilification.

It means “The act of valuing something as worthless.”

It’s like we created a $10,000 word to describe an idea that’s not worth a penny.

The act of valuing something as worthless is a real thing, and in marketing it’s often disguised as just the opposite—the act of robbing a proposition of value by making it impossible to understand.

At Ignite, our mission revolves around “humanizing” tech marketing. But as product differentiation grows in importance, it’s easy to point to technical info and call it a day. Maybe we get carried away with the impressiveness of 2.7GHz speeds and lose sight of what a GHz really means to actual people.

Consumer floccinaucinihilipilification happens for lots of reasons, but one of them is how tech companies decide to describe their products. Product developers make decks of specs, then email them to marketers, who make their own decks, which they email back. Then they argue. Via email.

The work is born in environments that don’t value each other. The message becomes the result of parents who no longer speak to each other.

Anyone trying to please everyone at once will see it’s a fast way to ensure no one values anything they say. Let the floccinaucinihilipilification-fest begin.

More detailed lists of specs aren’t the answer. Neither is one long shot of puppies and an end slate. This isn’t a call to dumb-down product features. It’s a call to smarten up about how you agree to communicate them.

The idea of floccinaucinihilipilification is a simple one. The solution is even more simple.

What would it be like if product development called marketing when the first schematics were drawn up to ask, “What if…”?

How much time would be saved if marketers said, “Walk me through this and give me your thoughts,” instead of passively reading emails and ignoring features they don’t find sexy?

In many companies, these questions are meaningless or a pipe dream at best. The process just doesn’t allow for that.

We think that’s kind of a give-up. The first step to fixing the process is remembering that everyone has the intention of making the product successful.

The next step is to talk. Don’t email. Do you eat lunch? I bet they do too. Even agency partners have been known to escape for a bite to eat. The point is that it may take some informal, face-to-face conversations to get on the same page. This can be scary for people who would rather make notes on PDFs.

But if the goal is to produce more relatable communications for consumers, shouldn’t the process of marketing be human as well?

Aligning these stakeholders early and often is key to making sure the value of a product is communicated from a shared belief. Because whether your decks are specs or sex, if they weren’t created collaboratively, they’re wrong.

Hopefully, this post is more valuable to you than it is to Google robots. (My guess is that the title isn’t going to set search results on fire.) After all, it was written for humans. And if you find value in hearing people trying to pronounce ridiculous words, call us. We’ll do our best.