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FYI: Terminology Alert

November 16, 2012 | By Mark Nadolny

Is it just my perception or do marketers sometimes communicate like teenagers? Both groups have taken the use of acronyms to levels which some might feel requires a degree in linguistics to decipher.

Is it just my perception or do marketers sometimes communicate like teenagers? Both groups have taken the use of acronyms to levels which some might feel requires a degree in linguistics to decipher. I often have no clue what my teenage niece and nephew are sending me in text messages that appear as a strange grouping of random letters, when a simple LMAO response would usually suffice. Sometimes it seems that marketers create new acronyms on the fly, hoping to take credit for those which might resonate within various communities. The same can be said for teenagers who are always looking to introduce catchy lingo to seem cool to their peer group.

So, are marketers acting as the cool kids of the corporate world or are they simply making up for the fact that we didn’t have smartphones when we were in our teens? Our analysts must now regularly reference a host of new or not-so-familiar acronyms (e.g. MAP, SFA, MDF, MRM, MQL, TRED) when discussing issues or offering guidance. Since the growing list of acronyms can become perplexing to even the most seasoned marketing professional, we’ve learned to “TRED” carefully when using them. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we began offering an introductory SiriusDecisions 101 session prior to the start of our annual Summit event.

Although my analogy to “teen speak” is lighthearted, my underlying message is serious and ties to the core of what SiriusDecisions advocates: the importance of sales and marketing alignment. And that requires speaking the same language. This applies to marketing’s relationships with other groups as well. When communicating with peers and partners, always pause to consider: Do they use the same terminology and acronyms? Be sure to spell out or clarify any terms that might not be readily understood.

 

Mark Nadolny

Mark Nadolny is Manager of Benchmarking Analytics at SiriusDecisions. Mark’s expertise at quantitative and qualitative analysis has been used to identify consumer issues and to develop research solutions throughout North American and Asia. Follow Mark on Twitter @mjnadolny.
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