Marketing Communications Dos and Don’ts From the Other Side: Non-Marketers!

With a big deadline looming I decided to focus this blog post on content from other people. Rather than a guest post, below is a random assortment of comments from folks within my network who aren’t in the field of marketing communications. Remember: their opinions should matter to you because they’re the reason you’re promoting what you’re promoting or communicating what you’re communicating!


From the perspective of consumers of marketing strategies:

  • DON’T insult my intelligence.
  • DO differentiate yourself from your competitor. I treat marketing as the company’s attempt to highlight the best side of a product by exploiting people’s desires, while washing away its blemishes. As such, I alternate between ignoring marketing and trying to interpret its message, mostly the former.
  • DON’T try to pretend that your marketing is organic and viral when the language clearly identifies you as a marketer. I.e., don’t be an online sock puppet.
  • DO clearly explain why I benefit from the product or service.
  • DON’T use acronyms, jargon, and buzzwords. Many company webpages sing the benefits of their product, but don’t actually say “it’s an X. It’s for doing Y.” Instead we get a very salesy “using best practice principles, our engineers have designed product X to maximize productivity and minimize downtime.” No. It’s product X. It’s for doing Y. Now show me what it can do.
  • DO try to understand the needs of the target audience.
  • DON’T aim for overly broad target audiences.
  • DON’T go out of your way to annoy me, like blasting the same thing from the same source, e.g., Twitter, 17 times in one hour.

From the perspective of colleagues of marketing communications specialists:

  • DO use proper English.
  • DO remember that we all have a part to play. We know that you’re integral to getting our product into the minds of consumers. But without those of us who make the product, you have nothing to sell. You’re not the be-all-end-all of the company.
  • DO be concise.
  • DON’T ramble or write walls of text.
  • DON’T bury the most important part of the message in the middle or at the end.
  • DON’T make an unreasonable number of errors. You are communications specialists, so when we receive typo-laden emails, even internal ones, that’s not cool. And when they’re external emails, we cringe.
  • DO proofread your tweets first, especially if part of your job is crafting social media messages for employees to share on their social networks. Nothing is worse than 20 people copy-and-pasting the tweet you wrote, then receiving a “that link doesn’t work / that date is wrong” response.
  • DO collaborate with your colleagues. If you have people in other departments who are good at social media, chances are they’re also eager to help spread your brand message.
  • DON’T use upspeak and generally poor verbal communication skills. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a boardroom table listening to someone? Who talks? Like this? And who, like, says, like, the word “like” too often? You are a business professional. If you don’t naturally speak in a commanding and intelligent way, practice.
  • DO communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t leave other departments in the dark. We may be sitting here wondering why on earth X isn’t selling or what you’re doing for Y when in fact you’re working your butt off for those products. Let other departments know what you’re doing and see if you can involve them somehow.

Wow. I asked for a few comments from just five people, and this is how much they came up with, mostly within two hours of my asking. Remember this, dear readers: people have strong opinions about the work that we do. Since we are doing it for them, we ought to listen!

Do you have any dos and don’ts to add to this list?

4 thoughts on “Marketing Communications Dos and Don’ts From the Other Side: Non-Marketers!

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