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Digital Schmigital

  |  February 26, 2010   |  Comments

Today's column is sponsored by the word: nomenclature.

I'd like to write about marketing. Just marketing. That's my background. Funny, but as a student studying marketing all those years ago, there weren't any prefixes. I never studied press-marketing, radio-marketing, TV-marketing, or back-of-the-public-lavatory-door-marketing. It was all just marketing.

You're probably wondering how many more times I'm going to say "marketing." And you're probably wondering where this is going. But please bear with me a little longer. And I need your help with this. Honestly.

Let's just take the word "marketing" and assume it's an umbrella term (which it actually is) and see what we can put under it. This particular list is not exhaustive at all. But purely for the sake of discussion, let's include advertising, public relations, personal selling, direct mail, outdoor, and let's throw in Internet too. Now, the Internet thing, that's where we enter the world of prefix marketing.

All of a sudden, the word "marketing" doesn't mean anything anymore unless we stick a word or two in front of it. [Adopts loud and manly tone] "I am a search engine marketer!" [Adopts squeaky mouse tone] "I want to be one too, but I'm only e-mail." And then, thundering from the heavens, a voice can be heard saying: "But I am a social media marketer and the rest of you suck!"

This is very much a personal rant. Some time ago I decided I wanted to be a sort of marketing alphabet-mass-murderer and kill any word that had a lower case "i" in front of it or a lower case "e."

E-mail I can live with. Absolutely. Electronic mail is a distribution method. But...

Internet marketing? About 80 percent of what's being referred to is on the Web. And the Internet and the World Wide Web are two different things. And "e" for electronic? The transistor radio I had when I was a kid was electronic. But I never heard anyone on air say "we'll be back right after these electronic marketing advertisements."

I never liked the term search engine optimization (apologies to Bruce Clay who first coined the term) as I don't know anyone who ever optimized a search engine. And for that matter, search engine marketing, I don't know...yeah you get it.

ClickZ is a powerhouse of marketing information. Smart people, smart marketing education, totally smart. But you know what? We're having a conversation right now about how we should describe ourselves as our new platform and branding is chomping at the bit to get going.

Are we digital marketers? Are we online marketers? Are we interactive marketers?

So here's where it's going. Do we need a prefix?

Why can't we just be marketers with the entire subset that goes with it?

Everything with a prefix or just that one, all encompassing golden word: marketing. Your thoughts?


Mike Grehan

Mike Grehan is currently chief marketing officer and managing director at Acronym, where he is responsible for directing thought leadership programs and cross-platform marketing initiatives, as well as developing new, innovative content marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining Acronym, Grehan was group publishing director at Incisive Media, publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ, and producer of the SES international conference series. Previously, he worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies handling global clients such as SAP and Motorola. Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Grehan came online in 1995 and is the author of numerous books and white papers on the subject and is currently in the process of writing his new book From Search to Social: Marketing to the Connected Consumer to be published by Wiley later in 2014.

In March 2010 he was elected to SEMPO's board of directors and after a year as vice president he then served two years as president and is now the current chairman.

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