Does clever marketing jargon impact your messaging and your customers actions?

I’ll be perfectly honest. When I tee up my first ball on the first hole, my simple brain has several reasonable goals: 1) I do not want to have to dip into the gallon jug of calamine lotion in the trunk of my car; 2) I do not want to require the implementation of a chain saw, weed whacker or fish finder to locate any of my errant shots, and 3) I wish no intentional harm to the wonderful young ladies who steer the beer carts around the golf course relentlessly attempting to help me forget about my amazing double bogey kick-in on the previous hole.

I mean, if you’re brave enough to trundle down the cart path toward my foursome, while I’m in my backswing, I can’t be held responsible for denting the beer cans in your cart. I pinky swear, it’s not intentional.

According to the mailing label on my GOLF magazine, I’ve been a faithful subscriber since 1999. There are two primary reasons why GOLF is in print, unlike many competitors: the writers are great storytellers, and they provide great information about all things golf – from how to align your body for straighter shots, to what’s the best beverage at the 19th hole. I don’t have a long bucket list for writing projects, but having a byline in GOLF, just once, would be pretty cool.

Many GOLF readers look forward to the annual ClubTest issue because GOLF provides all the inside dope on the latest clubs, balls, footwear, and any other things you’d need to play a successful round.

Unfortunately, the staff writers for GOLF are NOT the ones who pen the irritating, sterile, transactional promotions for these items. The best way to demonstrate my angst in this marketing jargon and communication strategy is to just show you. For example:

Callaway’s new golf balls: Chrome Tour and Chrome Tour X:

“…At the center of the design is a proprietary core system, featuring a new rubber and base polymer, and reformulated urethane core that allowed Callaway’s ball team the ability to push the limits in short-game spin without negatively affecting long-game performance.”

What does that mean? Honestly, if you’re not a chemist do you really understand “base polymer” and “…reformulated urethane…”?

Or, how about this one for a new set of irons by Miura, a Japanese club maker?

The Finest Forged Irons in the World

Now Available in Black

Handcrafted in the utmost attention to detail by Miura’s skilled artisans, the CB-302 is a masterpiece of golf club design. Featuring the largest sole width ever produced at the Miura factory and a precise amount of camber, this club is engineered to elevate your game to new heights.

Can anybody tell what the heck “camber” is? Anyone?

And, finally, here’s a promo for a new driver by Cleveland Golf. This review is presented by their AI robots.

Cleveland Launcher 2XL driver

“Robot Takes: For golfers who tend to impact the high toe, the 10-degree Launcher XL2 saw distance drop by seven yards on the common miss – one of the better carry deltas we saw during testing at 95 mph…And speaking of toe hits, the driver averaged just 3.3 yards of distance loss across the entire toe section…For those who don’t necessarily need a driver with extreme launch angle and spin rate characteristics, Launcher XL2 is worth consideration after it produced middle-of-the-road numbers in both categories.”

While I understand some of the industry jargon in that promo, it still misses the mark for most.

Why do these promotions using marketing jargon miss the mark?

According to the National Golf Foundation:

  • 26.6 million people played golf on a golf course last year in the United States.
  • More than 500 million rounds of golf have been played in the United States for four (4) consecutive years.

According to the USGA (United States Golf Association)

  • The average handicap for men recreational golfers is 14.1
  • The average handicap for women recreational golfers is 28.0
  • Only 5% of U.S. recreational golfers achieve a handicap of 3 or less (that means you’re really good).

Equally significant is the fact that of the 26.6 million humans who played golf last year, only approximately 300,000 of them made the effort to achieve an official handicap.

For those who don’t know what a handicap is, it’s the measure of your efforts in relation to the Par on a particular course, as well as each hole on the course. So, if you’re playing a Par 5, that means you should be able to plink your ball into the cup in five strokes (or less). If the par for a course is 72, that’s the degree of difficulty of the course. For example, the average male handicap of 14.1 means that that person, on a par-72 course, would likely shoot an 86, give or take a shot or two.

Golf is a game of rhythm, feel, instinct, and art. For people not named Tiger or Rory or Nelly, this promotional nonsense is LOST on the other 26.599999 million people who teed up a shot last year.

Tell me how this new club is going to prevent me from retrieving my hip waders and fishing net to reach my errant shot. Tell me how this new ball is going to fly straight and land softly so that I have fewer stabs with my putter to get the ball into the hole.

How might I craft some of this mumbo jumbo?

You could employ some humor. I mean, what’s a round of golf with your buddies without some good-natured trash-talking?

Humor – Don’t be Like Dave

You hate it when you imitate Dave.

Dave’s lashed a Ted Cruz missile and his approach shot just splashed in the pond next to the green.

Don’t be like Dave.

On the next hole, Dave shanks one that’s ricocheting off dense, majestic pine trees that make you think a dozen woodpeckers are working overtime.

Don’t be like Dave.

The new Miura CB-302 forged irons are skillfully crafted by Japan’s best engineers to make sure that YOUR shots land in the short grass. Every. Time.

So you’re NOT like Dave.

Or you could take a more serious approach.

The fairway is greener than a plush Ireland hillside in May. The sun whams off of the clubhouse windows. A slight wind at your back gives hints of fresh-cut grass combined with honeysuckle. Your first buddy slices his tee shot into the cabbage and might need a flashlight and a backhoe to get to his ball. Your next partner crushes a Nancy Pelosi and probably requires a minesweeper to locate his errant effort.  Your third buddy sends the beer cart girl scrambling for safe haven… But there’s not a negative thought in your brain as you approach your tee ball because you have the new Cleveland Launcher XL2 driver cradled in your hands. Come to think of it, your tee shot has landed in the fairway on every hole for the last three hours. Cleveland Launcher XL2 driver – straight down the middle every time.

Don’t tell me about camber and toe hits and urethane covers. Convince me that the product or service that you offer is going to make me perform better at the thing I’m trying to get better at.

If you don’t know how to avoid silly sales or marketing jargon and industry-speak in your marketing materials, putt me an email and I’ll get back to you after I’m done dabbing calamine all over my ankles.

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