Smart Marketing: Don’t Try to Explain Bluetooth to Your Grandma

What image would come to mind if you heard the phrase ‘cloud hosting’ for the first time? The answer could be any number of things. If you’ve recently watched Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (or if you grew up with siblings who made watching it a weekly, if not daily habit), you might picture some scene taking place in the floating Cloud City on the fictional planet of Bespin. Or, if you take it in the most literal sense possible, you could imagine a host at a restaurant or social event. Except that the event just happens to be taking place inside a visible mass of particles of condensed vapor suspended in the atmosphere of earth.In reality, cloud hosting, put simply, is a system which dynamically integrates multiple servers. If one server goes down or is over capacity, another in the cloud picks up the slack. It’s the most reliable way to keep websites online and visitors unaffected by individual server inconsistency.

At least until the term becomes more commonplace, it seems ludicrous to expect just anyone to know that definition, not excluding new business owners or those looking to start a website for the first time. Why advertise to people using a term that will seem like non-sense to them?

Recently, I overheard a conversation between my two grandmothers. One, a generation younger, was trying to explain the concept of a wireless Bluetooth headset to the other, who, to my knowledge, has never used the Internet (my family was overjoyed when she learned to send a text message last year, but I digress). Though it was an admirable attempt, it was also somewhat humorous, and it was apparent that very little progress, if any, was made in convincing my elder grandmother that this technology would be beneficial to her.

It’s vital when selling anything to know who you’re marketing to, and to market in a way that is easy to understand for that specific person or group of people. It’s even more important when trying to market in the technology industry, which adds another new gadget (or two or two hundred) quicker than you can refresh your Twitter feed.

There’s a very high likelihood that your potential customers don’t even know that there is a solution to their problems out there. In the case of cloud hosting, most people are unaware such a service exists, let alone what it means or that it will correct the fact that the servers hosting their website were overloaded by a recent spike in traffic. They’re not going to find your service by using the search terms “best cloud hosting” or “secure cloud hosting.” Rather, they’ll be looking to find a way to eliminate the issue they had with their previous hosting service. Instead of marketing the tools or services you provide, market the solutions you have to the problems real people face. Put yourself in their shoes. Tell them why they want–why they need–what you have.

Of course, this concept isn’t limited to just hosting and servers. What are you marketing that just doesn’t seem to be catching on? Maybe it’s time to reconsider who is seeing your ads, and to evaluate the possibility of re-wording them to increase their effectiveness.