AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerSpeak the Language of Your Customer, Donor or Patient

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Speak the Language of Your Customer, Donor or Patient

How do you build trust, empathy and familiarity in the digital world? You start with one simple premise: Speak the customer’s language. Yet, convoluted, jargon-filled industry language continues to be a problem on the internet.

According to the Norman Nielsen Group, user experience professionals (that’s all of us who offer ideas about websites, digital ads or landing pages) “should never assume that our own interpretations and understanding of words or objects match those of our users.” In fact, the nn/g group has a t-shirt with the following simple reminder: you do not equal user

If people cannot understand the word on your website (jargon, products names with register symbol, acronyms) they will feel like your don’t understand the user and go elsewhere for the information they want or need.

What is preventing us all from using simple copy that is easy to understand that does not send you searching for definitions? Simple and clear copy leads to familiarity and trust.  The next time you are reading product copy or a website that is written more for the company than the user, remember nn/g’s t-shirt and move to a company or organization that is smart enough to make the writing understandable.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.