Why Some Dev’s Use “Big Words” for Marketing Strategies? (Op-Ed)

I am sitting in a meeting with my client, and an SEO / Google Ad’s specialist.  The individual is a talented developer (no doubt about that).  He is self taught (I admire that) and has spent over a decade understanding the science of search engines, and how to get results.

And he has my respect for that.  I know my way around the Google Console, as is expected for a Content Manager and creative copywriter.  In order to produce the kind of content that draws traffic from search engines to the websites of my clients, I have to understand SEO.  And like this contractor, I read about ten (10) articles per week about it.  Trying to not keep pace but keep my client content one-step-ahead of the next Google update.

I am listening and taking notes.  Questions I may have to assist my client.  And then the “big words” start to emerge.  To be clear, I work with almost ten different SEO and Google Ad’s specialists now.  I may break the world record for “most Zoom calls in a week” this year.  But when I start to hear the complex language spoken to the client, I get my back up a little.

Do some contract developers and search engine specialists like to “big up” to the client? Absolutely.  Particularly if they are providing services at a premium price.  After twenty-years in marketing, it is not the first time I have watched the complex language tactic used against a business customer.   And in my professional opinion, not only is it bad customer service, it borders on the line of fraudulent business behavior.

Talking Over the Head of Your Business Client

Perhaps I am a little old-school when it comes to business relationships.  The first priority in my business is to make sure I am explaining digital marketing to my client.  Businesses that outsource their content marketing and development work, do not have the resources in house.  And they may have a low level of digital fluency, or understanding of search engines, website design and content marketing strategies that are effective.

What clients do know is their own business.  They know the goals they want to achieve.  And lastly, they know that to reach those benchmarks, they are going to need some expert help.  And that relationship is built on trust first.   

So, when I hear these words, or see them in marketing materials, or on contractor websites, I cringe:

  • Ecosystem
  • Vertical
  • UI / UX
  • Nomenclature

Nomenclature made me smirk behind the conference call (camera decided off because I do not have a poker face, and I find it difficult to hide my reaction to nonsense).  The word was used entirely in the wrong context.  One of those big, fancy and impressive words I guess, that makes a developer seem larger than life in complexity and intelligence.



noun: nomenclature

  1. the devising or choosing of names for things, especially in a science or other discipline.
    1. the body or system of names in a particular field.

plural noun: nomenclatures

“the nomenclature of chemical compounds”

Source Web 2020: Dictionary.com

What exactly does nomenclature have to do with digital marketing? Things already have names.  And directories. And defined purposes.  I suspected the developer had one of those “word of the day” blocks on his desk and misunderstood the meaning of the word.  And I wondered how many websites had been sold with the prolific (but inaccurate) use of a term not many people know the meaning of.  

By the end of several client calls where the word ‘nomenclature’ was deployed like some shiny silver bullet, I debated whether to tell the developer that I thought his language style was shady.  Tantamount to shining a bright floodlight in the eyes of your customer to close a deal.  With a confused business owner who may not really understand (at the end of the fluff show) exactly what they are getting and whether they will get results.

Stop the “Bigly” Talk and Give Your Customer What They Need: Honesty and Results

If you are on a call with a developer, and the big words start coming out, how do you feel? Like the developer is trying to snow you? Perhaps.  Like the person you have considered hiring is arrogant?  Likely. Or perhaps that those big words are a deliberate tactic to upsell?  Absolutely.

The best developers I have worked with (and I work with many around the world) have been straight talkers.  They are refreshing to work with and to meet with, because they understand the simplicity of communication is what matters. 

A client does not care about being added to your “nomenclature” (#Smh).  A business owner wants to know what needs to be done, what resources are needed to get it done, what the key performance indicators of the work will be, and (of course) what it is going to cost them.

That is it.  They do not care about the “verticals” you plan to penetrate for them.  They want to talk about recruiting more traffic, and most importantly, conversions of website traffic to sales.  Small and medium sized business owners are not particularly concerned about the measurable of website ranking .  I have seen websites with incredible search engine ranks convert almost zero sales.  It’s an vanity metric.  Our job as digital providers is to recruit traffic, inform visitors, and funnel them into a call to action that results in a sale.

Want to know what business owners really care about?

  • Marketing services are about making money for the business. Period.
  • It is about helping the client understand every aspect of the strategy.
  • Business owners should feel comfortable enough to ask questions; like “what does the word nomenclature have to do with my SEO?”
  • How much time and investment is it going to take before measurable results can be reviewed?
  • How much is it going to cost?

I love working with developers that do not use this tactic.  For me, its hard to trust any digital marketing or development professional who actually goes out of their way to confuse the client.  In my experience working with developers and analytics professionals, the “big words” are meant to distract from a “big price tag” which may not be competitive for an I.T. specialist with poor soft skills.

If you don’t understand what your developer is saying, and they don’t take the time to teach you, it’s time to get a new developer. Find a web professional you can trust.

Marketing Managers Speak Dev – Most Business Owners Do Not

My objective is to help clients learn.  Understand every single step we take (and why), and how to tell if the strategy is working.   And if it is not… pivot to another strategy until we find the ‘sweet spot’ for traffic and conversions.  To save money.  To allocate resources where they will get the best ROI for their expenditures.

Not all developers are difficult to work with.  Many that I work with regularly are amazing.  They are driven by providing results (not by seeing how much they can ‘land’ as a fee for a project).  They care about building a positive customer experience and reputation.   It is personal to them, the success of the client’s business. 

And that is how you know you are working with a good developer.  He or she does not  “run the show”.  They are one important cog in the wheel of a successful project, or ongoing traffic and sales growth. 

Create a Relationship With a Developer You Can Trust

I invite developers on my projects from all corners of the world.  I have I.T. partners in the United Kingdom, Canada and in the United States.  I also have a cherished friend and partner in India, who has a team of impeccable code writers, WordPress website and app designers.   Their talent is surpassed only by their amazing no-nonsense approach and work ethic.

Here is an industry not-so-secret fact: many developers do not get repeat business or have long-term clients.  That is because for some I.T. scientific brains, the idea of relationship building in business is a bit of a stretch. Developers have phenomenal cosmic powers … and frequently shoddy soft-skills and personal communication styles.  

They make clients feel like THEY are doing you a favor. When you the client, are the customer.

If that is how you feel outsourcing your development projects, I am happy to refer my business colleagues. We do not have one in-house developer; we have eight (8) amazing professionals who go the extra mile.  No matter what the client’s budget is for the web development project.

Find a Developer You Can Trust

My advice to business owners? Find a web developer that you can trust.  Someone who takes pride in their own personal branding.  Someone who can show you customer comments and feedback.  Interview a developer like you would for a full-time hire; they expensive.  Make sure you are getting what you pay for and that the rates are competitive.

But most of all, make sure you like your developer.  If you feel intimidated by them.  If they constantly “talk over your head”, or if they are reluctant to share analytical reports (and review them with you monthly) it is time to find a better service provider.   The right developer can be an indefinite contract resource for you, and a productive one.   Zero ‘nomenclatures’ required.

Lori Ann Reese is a marketing professional with more than twenty years of corporate experience. Watch for updates on her new column on Business.com, providing content marketing tips and strategies.

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