Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

January 25, 2023
January 25, 2023 Una Drake

What is the Curse of Knowledge?

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when a person with a high level of specialized knowledge, communicates with another, less knowledgeable person, and incorrectly assumes they both have the same level of knowledge and understanding about the given subject. It results in confusion for the less knowledgeable person, and frustration for the more knowledgeable person. In the end it’s a missed opportunity for real transmission of information.

Here’s the thing: virtually all people with specialized knowledge (e.g. scientists, engineers, technologists, entrepreneurs) suffer from the curse of knowledge to one degree or another. And that kills communication.

Marketing, at its core, is communication. You must avoid the curse of knowledge for your marketing to be effective. In order to market your product or service you must be able to explain it in a way that is understandable to people outside of your particular niche.

Schedule a Introductory Meeting to Overcome the Curse of Knowledge

We are experts at helping our clients overcome the curse of knowledge and communicate exactly the right information to their appropriate audiences.

Communication is the essence of marketing.

Interested in overcoming the curse of knowledge in your organization? Let’s get the conversation started.

Benefits of Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

When your communication is on point then your messaging and marketing are effective. Overcoming the curse of knowledge has direct benefits for your bottom line including increased revenue and elevated reputation.

  • Customers better understand your technology
  • Investors grasp your potential
  • Improved organizational velocity
  • The marketplace is talking about you and your technology
  • Employees are excited to work there

Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

Just because you know about the curse of knowledge does not mean that you’ll automatically be able to communicate effectively. If you’re like many of our clients, you and your team have complex, scientific and highly technical information at the core of your business. You must communicate about what you do, and what your company offers, in order to gain new clients and new investors.

To overcome the curse of knowledge and communicate effectively, you must do three things: 

  1. Know your audience and understand what level of knowledge they have about your subject area
  2. Simplify your complex information in a way that is both factually correct and also useful, so that it can be understood by your audience
  3. Gain and hold the attention of your audience long enough for them to absorb the information you are trying to communicate

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of effective communication. Knowing your audience is especially crucial in overcoming the curse of knowledge because each audience group will have a different level of basic familiarity with your complex, technical information.

In the case of biotech and life science companies, there are several key groups that must be communicated with, each in its own way. The primary audiences that biotech and life science companies must reach are:

  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Investors
  • Analysts
  • General public

Each of these audiences is made up of very different people, and your goals with each will be different. At the end of the day, how well you communicate with each audience will determine the success or failure of your business.

Simplify Complex Information

There are five core strategies to simplify and communicate complex information:

  • Point to the Payoff
  • Climb the Crane
  • Supply Supports
  • Master Metaphors
  • Voice it with Visuals

Each of these five strategies is powerful on its own, and even more so when used in combination. What strategy you employ will depend on your specific audience and application. It’s best to be familiar with all five in order to have all the tools at your fingertips.

These strategies are covered in depth in the upcoming eBook. Sign up using the form below.

Capture and Hold Attention by Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

Any attention your potential customers or investors give you is voluntary. This is even more true for members of the general public, most of whom are not particularly interested in bioscience or other technical subject matter. Using the strategies referenced above will allow you to speak to your audience in a way that makes them intrigued and wanting to learn more.

With any audience the goal is to captivate their attention and hold it so they can absorb the information you are delivering. In practice this usually looks like consuming the content on your website, watching your videos, or reading more and more about your technology, your products and services. Your job (or your marketing team’s job) is to make it natural for your audience to stay engaged through compelling copywriting, visual elements and design that makes it easy.

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Overcome the Curse of Knowledge: How to Make Complex Information Easy to Understand So You Can Reach Customers, Investors, and the Public

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    Una Drake

    Client storyteller, message crafter and amplifier, Una contributes copywriting, content marketing, campaign design and media buying to the JUG Team. A coach at heart, Una loves helping each person, each client, each business to be seen, heard and understood on their own terms, in the best possible light.
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