What Your Company Says vs What Your Users Say

February 2, 2009
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What does your company do and what services do they offer? What problem do they solve? Like most companies I’m sure you have your own way of describing what it is you do (internally). Truth is the words you use to describe yourself and the words your customers use to describe you […]

words

What does your company do and what services do they offer? What problem do they solve? Like most companies I’m sure you have your own way of describing what it is you do (internally). Truth is the words you use to describe yourself and the words your customers use to describe you are often very different. Take twitter for example. This is what twitter says about itself:

Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time.”

What do we call twitter?

Well, I asked twitter and here are some of the results I received:

  • an IM client
  • micrblogging platform
  • perhaps a conversation tool
  • blogging for ADD
  • a new communication channel
  • microsharing tool

It doesn’t matter what you call your product or service; it matters what your users call your product or service. I’ve worked with many client who use their own internal jargon to describe themselves. Sure, you can use this for “code” internal communication but when you call yourself a “electronic rapid picture projector” when your users are calling you a t.v. then you should probably also call yourself a t.v. Here are a few simple things you can do to understand what words people are using to describe your product or service:

  • check out community forums or discussions to see what your users are calling you
  • use the google keyword tool (though it’s a bit skewed and so are most of the tools out there)
  • look at your internal analytics to see what keywords are bringing in traffic
  • if your using a social media tool like techrigy sm2 or radian6, look at what users are tagging your content
  • create polls or surveys, either online or offline
  • ask your users directly through your blog, twitter, other social media channels
  • explore competitor terms, what are they using to brand themselves?

These few tips will really help you target your product/service and message to your customers. There’s no point talking about your product as “X” when your users are calling you “Y.”

Have any other tips?  What else can we do to make sure that we are on the same page as our users?


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