Today’s digital advertising landscape is the new frontier for all sorts of evolutions, revolutions, pioneers, (sung & unsung) heroes! This “Wild West” environment inevitably attracts a good share of Digital Preachers and Hype artists along with the true professionals…
Read through the latest articles and press releases or talk to most of the Digital evangelists and you’ll immediately be bombarded by an onslaught of “new age” acronyms. On top of the traditional Media & Marketing jargon like RON, ROC, GRP, ROI, CPM, you’ll enter the gateways of Digital with terms like CPC, PPC, CTR, CPA, CAP, quickly moving to latest trends such as RTB, SSP, DSP, DMP, GDN and if you persevere you’ll find yourself in front of the more esoteric ones like QPS, FBX, PMP. Of course this is just valid today, since every day a new three letter abbreviation seems to find it’s way to our doorsteps. All of the above lead to some glorious, if frustrating WTF moments!!! (Hint: Click on the Bomb to get some help with the acronyms…)
So what does it all mean? Is it relevant to your everyday job? How can one possibly safely navigate through this labyrinth?
I have to admit that I’m a relative newcomer to this party, although I’ve spent most of my academic & professional life in its periphery. The initial days and weeks were hard and full of searching & reading to make sense of it all, then gradually some epiphanies & “a-ha” moments ensued. But after a year of a very interesting & stimulating Digital Advertising joyride, i must confess that a familiar pattern is clearly visible… Having lived & breathed IT for the last decades, there was no denying that it was happening here too. It’s a well known trick – not invented by IT – although it’s use was exemplified in this domain. People using acronyms (some of which change on an annual basis even though they still describe the same thing) to build up fences around their area of “expertise”, usually forgetting or plainly ignoring the real issues at hand… I’ve seen it before, the only difference was the abbreviations used – CRM, ERP, BPM, API, SDK, HTML, JSP, ASP etc.
Unless you’re a company developing and selling technology these acronyms are far from your focal point! Technology is a means to an end, a – many times complex & wonderful – tool that allows us to reach our true objectives. So my proposal is:
Just Ignore the acronyms & technical jargon and concentrate on the Basic Questions you need to ask to properly define & measure your Goals!
The following list of steps provide a quick & easy mechanism to make sure that you don’t lose focus. Ask the Basic Questions:
1) What is your (TRUE) end Goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you advertising to enhance your Brand recognition & recall or do you have specific Performance Goals? Do you want to speak to existing or new customers? is your goal to drive actual sales? If so of the entire portfolio or of a specific product? And most importantly How will / can you measure the achievement of your goals?
2)Which capabilities, necessary to achieve that goal, exist in-house and which ones you expect will need to outsource?
3)What’s your Budget?
4)Put all of the above on a single piece of paper: It doesn’t have to be an essay – just a simple page at most. Bullet points & relevant headers work fine. It’s good discipline and it pays off in the long run to have a reference point. This is essentially the Brief of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Armed with this information identify the right partner for your Digital Advertising needs. If they respond to your brief with more technical “mambo-jumbo” DITCH them immediately!!! Make sure that you select people who have an understanding & affinity to your goals as well as the necessary tech skills.
Today’s Marketing & Advertising requires – more than ever – multidisciplinary teams. These teams can only function properly when they include individuals capable to bridge the gaps between the different skill-sets involved in the process. Making sure that you clearly define what’s important to you was, is and always will be the crucial success factor. Selecting the proper – internal or external – partners to handle the new & exciting technological aspects of Digital Marketing is important but should be done in tandem with the true objectives.
Understanding all the acronyms is not a prerequisite for success. Properly defining your goals & selecting the right team to work towards them is!
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