Kids today—who can understand them? ­Of course, this is a timeless sentiment, but one that’s no less true today, with young ones constantly nose-to-the-glass with smartphones and tablets, chatting with their friends. If you dare to peek at their tweets and posts, other than a near hieroglyphic scroll of emoji, you’ll find a language of all their own.”

That’s the beginning of the TIME article I was reading over the weekend that listed terms like ADN, B/C, SMH, Bae, and AF and gave a glossary for what each term actually means. I knew about 20% of them.

The same’s true in marketing.  If you heard someone say, “Marketers today—who can understand them?” could you even argue? WOM, UI, UX, SLA, PPC, SQL… need I continue?

I did, and typed up the marketing acronyms that I heard in the last week: 31 in total.

My point isn’t that marketing has a ton of acronyms (which it does), but more a question of whether they are all necessary. I don’t think that all of these acronyms are as common as everyone thinks they are. Sure, you might hear them all the time, but how many of us actually know what they mean?

I made a marketing acronyms crossword puzzle to prove my point. Print it and fill it in. Have your team take it, too. You know what, have your primary contacts in other departments do it as well. The best score I’ve seen thus far is 29/31 (without cheating) and most people end up scoring in the high 20s. Just because something is a term you hear all the time doesn’t mean everyone knows it or defines it the same way. When you use these acronyms or phrases in reports, papers, or even in meetings, it’s best to define them up front.



Jay Famico

Jay Famico


Prior to co-founding Capstone Insights, Jay led SiriusDecisions’ Technology and Services practice, where he oversaw SiriusDecisions’marketing and sales technology and service coverage. He also launched and chaired the SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange (TechX). He is a widely regarded expert on marketing automation technologies, and how to rationalize an ever-growing martech stack into a competitive differentiator.

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