There is nothing so annoying as corporate-speak. It’s so intentionally bland and meaningless that it feels dishonest. As if the person talking to you has to tap dance around whatever they’re selling, just to make sure you don’t see how unnecessary it is. Yet, bizarrely, it continues to be common throughout the healthcare sector. So if that’s what’s happening at your company, here’s how to stop sounding like a corporate healthcare drone.

Voice-of-Customer Research

It’s called “voice-of-customer” for a reason – it sounds like the customer. Not the founder or the CEO or the board. The customer. You know, the one who is actually supposed to respond to your marketing and buy your product. If you want to drop the corporate-ese and actually resonate with your customers, this is where you start.

One-on-one interviews are the best way to go about this. They allow for a conversation that can move in unexpected directions. If your customer raises an issue you’d never considered, you’ll hear about it and can ask for details. The better your interviewer, the more relaxed your customer will become and the more likely you are to hear the way they really talk. Instead of standing on ceremony, they’ll tell you what they really think. This is gold.

Surveys are the next best thing. If you can’t get an interview, it doesn’t mean all is lost. Granted, you won’t be able to explore unexpected topics but you can still use open-ended questions to dig a little deeper. When well-constructed, surveys can be very informative, especially when people write in answers. Multiple-choice and ranking questions are helpful but, for marketing, the diamonds are in the words people write in.

What You’re Listening For

Whether you use interviews or surveys (or both), you are listening for the same things. These are not just general topics (like customer service or billing or implementation) but the actual words people use. You want to pay attention to not just what they say but how they say it.

Listen for catchphrases and metaphors. If there are a few ways of saying something, pay attention to their word choice. Listen to how they describe the pressures of their day and the concerns they are hoping you will help them allay.

Pay special attention to phrasing and concerns that come up in different interviews. Those are the commonalities that you will want to work into your messaging.

Put It In Action

Once you train your ear to really listen for the words your customers use, your old corporate-speak will sound even more jarring. So take the phrases you’ve discovered in your voice-of-customer research and apply them to your copy. And that’s how you stop sounding like a corporate drone.

Photo by Marius Haakestad on Unsplash.