Marketing jargon translated for normal people

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I know I've gone on semantic rants before, most recently with regard to the marketing acronyms that make us all sound silly or needlessly confuse one another. Frankly, such rants are fun because it's about calling myself out on my marketing jargon as much as it is about calling out others.

Marketing jargon translated for normal people

We all know we have a problem with silly buzzwords and ridiculously flowery language sometimes. It's part of the job, and we spend so much time around each other that we sometimes forget how absurd we sound. But we've all also at some point tried to explain our jobs or recent professional activities to our non-marketing friends. Or our mothers. Or worse, our grandmothers. And that's when we realize that a lot of the words and phrases we use every day don't mean much outside our own walls.

We're not doctors. What marketers do each day is relatively straightforward. So why all the industry-specific expressions? When you try to explain a facet of your job to an outsider and they stare blankly at you, the gut reaction can be to simply change the subject. But if you, like me, would like a better shot at communicating with normal human beings again, read on for some ideas on how to rephrase your profession for the layman.



iMedia Editors
iMedia Editors April 24, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Lynn, it's so true! I bet you would enjoy the article, "Why generational marketing is ridiculous," also by Drew Hubbard. Here's the link:

Thanks for reading!

Lynn Salton
Lynn Salton April 22, 2014 at 2:54 PM

You can add the term GenX to the list. No two marketers have the same definition and the term has become meaningless. While we're at it... add the terms GenY and Millenials to the list too.

Reid Carr
Reid Carr April 22, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Maybe a little nit-picky here, but I don't agree that KPIs are "goals". We typically have specific goals that we need to hit, but also have indicators that might suggest that we are hitting/going to hit or missing/going to miss those goals or, even better, give clues as to why. then, you can make structured decisions and adjustments in order to hit the goal.

In other words, you can still achieve a sales goal by varying combinations of traffic, conversion rate and average sales price. If every KPI were a "goal", you would have tremendous difficulty prioritizing your efforts in order to achieve a particular goal.

Now, of course, we still have reasonable thresholds and ideal numbers within each KPI, but we don't want to lose sight of the actual goal by virtue of being lost in the weeds of KPIs.