Don’t Assume Everybody Understands Your Terminology: How We Explain The Gig Economy
We provide executive expertise on an interim, advising or consulting basis. In short we provide talent to the gig economy. Even though we’ve been doing it for over 13 years, we still need to explain what an ‘interim executive’ or ‘gig economy’ is to new contacts.
Recently, we gave a presentation on the gig economy at a conference for CEO’s and CEO coaches and something we were asked was: Did you misspell ‘gig’? Do you mean ‘big’ economy. No and no.
That’s when we realized not only did we have to market our niche, we actually needed to explain our industry. Not that people didn’t know what the gig economy is, they just didn’t get the terminology. When Pam compared work gigs to that of musicians and bands, the light bulb suddenly went on in everybody’s heads.
The growing influence of the gig economy
Almost all major organizations are engaging with freelance or part-time talent. Right now, 82% of gig workers are hired by companies with revenues under 100 million dollars. A large majority of these workplaces are small to medium-sized businesses who rely more heavily on their part-time workers than full-time employees.
Although the marketplace is saturated with gig workers, the terminology hasn’t caught up with business leaders. As the gig economy continues to grow, so will knowledge of industry terms and expressions. But for now, it’s better to use words that are more commonly used to connect with an audience.
A common misconception about interim executives is that they’re between jobs and can’t find one. That is simply not true.
Kristen McAlister explains it best: “If you look at your roster of employees and you start ranking everyone in order of A B C D, do you really think that if your C and D players were out on the market, doing short-term jobs for people that they would get asked back? The reality is that they would not do a great job, last long or get more business for themselves. It’s the A and B players, especially the A’s that are able to get out there and own their own business and keep those repeat clients.”
Those individuals that are riding on the wave of the gig economy have talent you can’t afford on a full-time basis. Industry leaders with exceptional skills and knowledge know their capabilities are invaluable and charge high. They enjoy the flexibility of choosing who to work with and taking on new challenges.
Even if you hear news and talk about your industry term frequently, don’t assume everybody remembers and understands it. Pam Wesley advises, “Even though it’s in the news all the time. Don’t think that everyone knows what it means. They may be reading it but they don’t know what it means.”
It’s easy to get caught up in your little bubble where you and your clients use those terms regularly, so you assume everybody knows them. That’s not always true. Be careful of using any terminology that is not common knowledge in your marketing campaigns. Whether for a conference, event, website, brochures, mass media and more, stay away from industry specific terms without a few words of explanation.