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Why all the TLAs
(three-letter acronyms — or abbreviations) in business — particularly in marketing? Are we too lazy to say all three words? Or are we trying to see if the people we're talking to are ITK (in the know)?
Some we hear around the office (excluding the BTWs, FYIs and LOLs found in our emails) include:
BAU — Business As Usual. This sounds a little negative, but when things get out of hand, sometimes we appreciate a little BAU.
B2B/B2C — Business-to-Business came into being to define something other than consumer marketing. Then, for no apparent reason, consumer marketing was transformed into B2C.
CLM/CRM — Some people outside of direct think that Customer Relationship Marketing is what direct marketers do. They don't know about our acquisition chops. Customer Lifecycle Marketing is a specific type of CRM.
CMO — The boss on the client side of the marketing/agency relationship is the Chief Marketing Officer.
CPA/CPC/CPL/CPS — Some of the pesky data points we mercilessly hunt down include Cost Per Acquisition, Cost Per Click, Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Sale.
CSC/SMS/MMS — It's understandable that in the small-screen world of mobile marketing we would want to abbreviate as much as possible. These stand for Common Short Code, Short Message Service and Multimedia Messaging Service.
DMA/IAB/4As — Our favorite trade associations are abbreviated. These are the Direct Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (a four-word name that can be reduced to three characters or a mere two syllables).
DND — When we can't take one more interruption, we choose to go to Do Not Disturb status.
FAB — Product managers give us the Features and Advantages, and the creative team calls out the Benefits.
FSI — When we promote something local, we may end up in the Sunday newspaper's Free-Standing Insert — the section of advertising and coupons that are worth the price of the paper many times over.
FTW — Any highly recommended proposal is accompanied by a hearty "FTW!" meaning "For The Win."
KPI — The metrics we think are particularly important are Key Performance Indicators. Too many of these, and they're not really helpful (or "key") anymore.
LTV — One of those KPIs may be the Life-Time Value of a customer.
A Marketing History Database is an essential tool for improving your marketing results over time. (See the white paper here
OOH — Okay, we don't talk about Out Of Home media all that much around here. But we think OOH is a pretty funny abbreviation.
POP/POS — Point of Purchase and Point of Sale sound alike, but may refer to a couple different things. Point of Purchase is often a marketing opportunity offered at a retail outlet. We sometimes refer to a more theoretical "nurturing a lead to the Point of Sale."
POV — Having a Point of View is important — particularly in a script for a commercial when you want to know what the camera is looking at and why.
RFI/RFP — Sometimes prospective clients get to know us through a Request For Information or Request For Proposal.
RFM — If you want to take a close look at your customer database, segment them by Recency (of last purchase), Frequency (of purchasing from you) and Monetary (dollar amounts of purchases) behaviors.
ROI — Some say Return On Investment is the gold standard of direct marketing metrics. We say that (as much as we love it) even ROI needs to be taken in context.
SOP — Hacker Group is famous for its Standard Operating Procedures that keep the work flowing smoothly.
TAP — According to our website, Hacker Group's "proprietary Target Action Planning™ (TAP) methodology provides a nearly fail-proof system of marketing strategy, planning, concept, execution, measurement and analysis." So there.
TMI — When you overshare in public, someone is bound to call you on Too Much Information.
UGC — User-Generated Content is now losing ground to "crowdsourcing," which doesn't lend itself to abbreviation.
VPN — Working offsite? You may have to log into the Virtual Private Network to get to the computer files you need.
WTF — When reality doesn't align with expectations, the first thing out of our mouths is "What The Flip?"