"The Peachtree" Road Race - Lessons Learned

07/04/2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Peachtree road race 2009 tshirt Run, walk, watch or read tweets #peachtree road race - The Peachtree is Atlanta's tradition for the 4th of July morning. Today the 2009 Peachtree Road Race celebrates its 40th anniversary back where it started at Piedmont Park. 5500 will proudly wear the 2009 Peachtree Road Race t-shirt this year.

The race is so integrated into Atlanta culture that we simply say "The Peachtree" assuming that all the world understands what that means. Talking with @Pollig this week brought that one home. My friend from Boston, well Weymouth, MA, was confused when I mentioned that after The Peachtree I'd probably join friends in Midtown tonight to watch fireworks.

I thought it does sound funny - "Watch the Peachtree." Why would you watch a street and which Peachtree street might that one be since Atlanta has 50 zillion Peachtree Streets?

How many times do we get caught up in our own company's or industry's buzz words? How often do we confuse customers and especially prospective customers? We don't mean to .. it's just part of our culture. But in doing so we construct barriers that our customers have to figure out by themselves how to maneuver around.

In marketing, especially social media marketing, that seems to happen all the time. So much so that worlds that seem obvious become platitudes. A term that social media consultants and marketers love to toss around is conversation. What are these "conversations?"  What does it mean to be authentic? How do you define transparency?

Lessons learned from The Peachtree Road Race: Give your customers an unobstructed course to run your The Peachtree!

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Comments

Good points Toby,

My husband read one of my blog posts the other day (before I posted) and told me "What do you mean you need to 'listen' online. You don't listen you read."

Sometimes we forget that terms that we use everyday may be foreign to others.

Happy 4th! The fireworks just ended here and the dogs are finally calming down.

P.S. I do remember seeing a zillion Peach Tree streets when I was in Atlanta! It's kinda crazy!

Posted by: Sue Rostvold on Jul 4, 2009 11:15:20 PM

Great point from your husband. We've changed the meaning of words in social media. Maybe we should be saying - We need to "understand" which goes beyond listening. Just because I listen do I "hear" what you're saying? By the way Max went nuts too listening to the fire crackers in our neighborhood.

Posted by: Toby on Jul 5, 2009 11:28:17 AM

I love that my confusion can be used as a learning tool! You must also remember that old Bostonian mentality-we invented marathons(no matter what those pesky ancient Greeks say!)

Posted by: polli on Jul 5, 2009 5:24:31 PM

@polli - yup and max does too ;-) actually i always thought the Boston Marathon was part of my birthday celebration and a cool day off of from school that just happened to fall on Patriot's Day!

Posted by: Toby on Jul 5, 2009 10:21:07 PM

You brought up a good point. One of the main purposes of social media is to converse with your customers or potential customers. If you try and converse using jargon you're going to lose them, because no one likes not understanding what's being talked about. If you can talk and explain things without using technical mumbo jumbo then you will be more successful in your conversations and thus build better relationships with your brand and your customer.

Posted by: Elizabeth on Jul 6, 2009 2:22:09 PM

@elizabeth -
The sad thing is that most of the time we converse in industry/company "mumbo jumbo" without a second thought.

Posted by: Toby on Jul 6, 2009 2:53:56 PM

Toby, it's so true. Our industry jargon becomes second nature to us and we don't realize it until we see it's being met with a confused or blank stare. If we could just learn to say the same thing in a more common way, we would definitely get a better response. Perhaps they should add that as an exiting class before graduating college..."How to translate everything you just learned in school to everyday, easy-to-understand terms"--haha.

Posted by: Elizabeth on Jul 7, 2009 11:20:47 AM

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