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Four Business Acronyms You SHOULD Use (Occasionally)
If you know me at all, you know I can be a little jaded when it comes to the oblique, contrived language that seems to hatch in the secret meeting rooms of our nation’s most important enterprises and institutions. Businesses of all sizes (but mostly large) are awash in inane metaphors and nonsensical letter combinations that give users a sense of self-importance while alienating outsiders. I mean, are people really impressed when they hear someone say, “That’s our secret sauce,” or “We’re looking for ways to monetize our operational excellence?” Or when someone asks you about your BHAG (big, hairy audacious goal), signs an email, AFTO (ask for the order), or reminds you it’s all about WIIFM (what’s in it for me), do you feel inspired? Heck, the basement linguists even have invented acronyms for acronyms (TLA = three-letter acronym; FLA = four-letter acronym).
So this got me to thinking, in our world, are there any acronyms that are worth having around or paying attention to? While I could have turned this into a day-long research assignment, I chose to start with some basics that B2B marketers need to learn/re-learn and then incorporate in their everyday mindset.
- CTA (call-to-action): It’s an old acronym but one that often still stands in the way of successful B2B promotions. Marketers are often left scratching their heads when huge increases in exposure lead to the same disappointing new business prospects. The usual reason? Non-compelling reasons to engage. And while this is one of the tougher marketing conundrums to solve, an increased focus on developing high-interest CTAs should be on your marketing to-do list.
- CMS (content management system): If it hasn’t happened already, your websites should be migrating to a robust, open source CMS. Publishing, editing, and modifying website content is marketing’s domain, and CMS makes it easy to do while protecting your sites from structural or functional breakdowns. Open source options like Drupal and Joomla make it easy to scale your sites over time without the cost, complexity and inflexibility of enterprise systems. And you’ll also find your dependence on IT and, God forbid — your agency for website maintenance can be almost completely eliminated.
- NPS (Net Promoter score): I’m a fan of Net Promoter, but not an expert. While there are many effective ways to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction, I like the idea of a single number that provides a measure of your customers’ willingness to recommend you as a company. I also think it’s important that marketers understand this number to ensure marketing efforts are genuine and realistic. Let’s face it: if you’re dealing with a customer base of passives and detractors, it’s probably logical to focus on solving the issues that are impairing NPS success before spending money on a disingenuous image campaign.
- UGC (user-generated content): While product reviews and highly interactive social marketing are still mostly the domain of consumer marketing, the increasing importance of UGC both from an audience engagement and search engine perspective should be cause for B2B marketing managers to look more carefully at strategies that make UGC part of their overall content strategy.
So, while I implore you to limit corporate speak to the bare minimum required by your job, I’ll also concede that there are a few TLAs that might make sense to bring back into your day-to-day business communications. If you have some others you think need more attention, just let me know. I’ll stay on the lookout as well.