The Challenge of Specificity

The title says it all.

Oh wait, it actually doesn’t.

The title of this article is the opposite of specific. It’s the epitome of abstraction. (And so is this sentence.)

For me, specificity is an enormous challenge. I, like many other humans, naturally think in abstract concepts. From the concepts in my mind, I can effortlessly derive examples as well as practical conclusions that fit my current circumstances.

And that’s great, as long as I’m dealing with my own mind only. 

But the majority of humans think differently. They think in concrete, simple, tangible ways. Their experience is more “immediate”. They concerns itself with things that are directly in front of them.  

The reason we abstract to higher level is that it allows our understanding to cover more ground. 

But in marketing, it’s not helpful. 

Abstraction is the enemy of clear communication. The challenge is specificity. 

But let’s go back to the headline. It’s the opposite of specific.

There’s nothing tangible about it, and it’s very likely that you, the reader, had no idea what I was talking about when you first read it.

How much better would it be if the headline said something like “Why people understand ‘apple’ better than ‘food’“.

Or “How to avoid confusing your customer by breaking down what you mean in the simplest words you can find“.