What Marketers Can Learn from Linguistics


Mark Pagel, evolutionary biologist and TED speaker shares, "As we spread out around the world we developed thousands of different languages. We use language, not just to cooperate, but to draw rings around our cooperative groups and to establish identities and perhaps to protect our knowledge and wisdom and skills to keep others from eavesdropping from the outside."

Different languages slow the flow of ideas between two groups, they slow the flow of technologies." We use our language almost instinctively as a marker of tribal identification. The wonderful paradox of our tribalism is that we are really remarkably and uniquely cooperative among animals within our tribal groups," says Pagel, "and yet that cooperation that we engage in, at least throughout our history has largely been confined to other members of our tribe." This tendency to keep ourselves in isolation crashes head first into our modern world which pushes globalization.

Our different languages pose a barrier to cooperation. We have to agree to speak each others' language as well as to teach each other our languages to create a "dialect" we both understand. The integration of brand and digital marketers into a more cohesive "tribe" is one of the biggest untapped opportunities available to us for growth. Executive search agency Russell Reynolds points out the enormous gap between digital talent and traditional executive leadership and the need to bridge the gaps between them in order to merge these two important factions cohesively.

For tribes to better understand, communicate and succeed it's necessary for them to agree on a shared language, whether we are describing digital marketing or content strategy. Scott Abel wrote a great book and guide to content vocabulary called, "The Language of Content Strategy". He shares that " a common vocabulary is an important aspect of the maturation of a discipline."

How do you help your teams speak the same language?

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