Match marketing messages

Farmer Randy didn’t know there was a wild turkey nest in the field he was mowing. When he ran it over, the eggs and mother hen survived, but would not make it through the night. They were sitting ducks (well, sitting turkeys) for the coyotes.

That’s when my husband Joe got the call. Would he take the eggs and hatch the chicks?

Less than a month later, we were the foster family for a gaggle of little wild turkey chicks. Two of the six survived into adulthood. We call them Fred and Ed, the Backyard Boys. They follow us around, play with the kids, and keep us laughing as they peck at their reflection on the truck bumper.

I thought they were cute, until they started getting aggressive.

I was teaching my new puppy Pearl to retrieve when Fred and Ed came gobbling around. I thought they were jealous of the attention I was giving Pearl. No, I decided, this behavior was just downright rude. And when a bird gets as big as a small dog and as ugly as a wild turkey (yes, they are ugly) gets assertive, it’s intimidating.

Fred and Ed started to chase me. They gobbled and created a raucous. I tried to stand my ground, but I lost it. I ran like a chicken (pun intended) into the garage for safety.

Running into the house, I frantically asked Joe why he didn’t come to my rescue when I screamed for help because the turkeys were attacking. My night in shining armor let me get pecked by Fred and Ed.

I had yelled at Fred and Ed, telling them I would eat them for Thanksgiving dinner if they didn’t behave. Joe smiled and said, “Megan, turkeys don’t speak English.”

Thanks, wise guy.

Apparently, turkeys talk turkey.

Joe interpreted turkey language for me. Fred and Ed were exploring flock boundaries, challenging others for power. My running away was a clear sign of weakness. In the wild, turkeys spar for 20 minutes at a time with a dance of assertiveness.

I didn’t like this language at all.

Joe presented me with two large fans made from turkey feathers, about three feet in diameter. I was to use them to talk turkey.

Back outside I went, with Joe behind me to give me encouragement. As Fred and Ed came to do their turkey dance, I spread the wings wide, looking like some weird, overgrown, sad-excuse of a turkey. I did my best to yelp, jump and pump the wings, clearly showing my dominance.

I hope the neighbors weren’t looking.

It worked. Fred and Ed backed off. I was talking turkey and they got the message.

How many times do we use the wrong language when communicating our yoga or wellness work to potential clients? If we’re using words like “transformational, self-realization, higher self, inner wisdom, or true nature” to promote a workshop to stay-at-home Mom’s, we may be speaking Greek to the Chinese.

Match the language to the audience. In the case of stay-at-home Mom’s, consider:

  • Stay cool when your toddler melts down
  • Give yourself a “time-out” from mothering
  • Leave the laundry and lighten up in a mom & baby yoga class.

Marketing is just communicating. Forget using words that mean something to you (your language). Use words that mean something to the people you are trying to reach (their language).

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