Marketers have two choices: drown in the sea of terminology that reflects how their jobs have changed, or dive in and get into the swing of things.
Of course, a certain degree of uncertainty or even trepidation among marketers is more than understandable. Few roles within a company have had to undergo such a shift in terms of planning, operating and even thinking about what they do each day.
Marketing was once a largely analog discipline, where the primary channels of communication to reach customers included print, out-of-home, TV and radio.
Today we’ve added online ads and videos, email, social media and several others that are still emerging. Being a successful brand means having a presence on most of these channels, but that’s just the starting point.
Marketers are also expected to learn —and quickly — how working across a particular channel will help their brand meet a particular business objective, whether it’s simply awareness, demand generation or both.
This process involves not only spending time in different channels and looking at them from the perspective of a customer (which all good marketers do). It also requires becoming well-versed in the tools they’ll use to manage campaigns across these channels.
Here’s where all the acronyms come in.
Even though advertising technology (adtech) and marketing technology (martech) products are often less than a decade old in many cases, vendors and experts will sometimes throw around acronyms as though they were a standard part of the syllabus when marketers were still studying in school.
Instead, working in a marketing role in 2020 means making a commitment to keeping yourself educated on all the acronyms, the tools and how you’ll need to apply them. This list will hopefully give you a head start:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): If you’re coming to a Salesforce blog like this one, you might already know about a CRM, but don’t mistake it as something restricted to the sales team.
In fact, a CRM can become a vital source of truth for marketing departments about who’s actually buying the company’s products and services, who’s loyal and what moved them to purchase. It’s also where all your leads will go.
Customer Data Platform (CDP): If you’ve already been using marketing automation like Marketing Cloud, you realize how critical data can be to your business. A CDP is one of the tools that helps turn data into actionable business results.
A CDP allows you to bring all the data about what your customers are doing across various channels and essentially organize them in one place. This allows you to figure out when they want to be contacted or messaged by a brand, what kind of content they want or need and, ultimately, deliver a one-to-one marketing experience.
Data Management Platform (DMP): Customers may opt in or agree to give you identifiable information, or first-party data, but there’s a lot that can come from other sources that needs to stay anonymous. A DMP allows you to do that but still leverage the data to run successful marketing campaigns.
Examples of third-party data could be device IDs, Internet protocol (IP) addresses and cookies that store information like browsing histories from online visitors. A DMP won’t allow one-to-one marketing but is great at helping segment customers and identify trends you can use.
Demand-Side Platform (DSP): Buying and placing ads used to be a fairly manual and often time-consuming task for marketers. That’s changed with the rise of what’s called programmatic advertising, where you can use a DSP to take on much of the work.
A DSP will help a marketer quickly find what kind of available inventory exists on a network of sites to place their digital ads, for instance. It can do the same thing with major social networks such as Facebook. Another way to remember this is to think of a DSP as the “buy-side” tool.
Supply-Side Platform (SSP): Brands are not the only ones digitizing their business processes, of course. An SSP is the tool that third-party sites, like a publisher, uses to manage their end of the programmatic advertising transaction. This is the “sell-side” tool.
SSPs and DSPs can sometimes be operated in a unified fashion by a single entity or group, which is known as an exchange. Depending on who you’re trying to target, this can be a great mechanism for getting at niche audiences.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Arguably one of the biggest trends in the past few years, particularly among B2B companies, is recognizing that marketing may work best when it’s aimed at the most likely customers, rather than trying to reach everyone.
ABM can involve many technologies that include everything from social listening applications to email marketing tools in order to create highly personalized campaigns to reach a predefined set of targets.
Application Programming Interface (API): This isn’t a specific tool for marketers, but it’s an acronym you should know as the number of products and services you use in your job — otherwise known as your “tech stack” — grows.
One of the biggest challenges many brands face in their journey to “digital first” marketing is getting all the pieces of their tech stack to work together properly. This is where APIs come in, because they allow your IT department to connect them.
Think of APIs as a translator that allows different marketing tools to integrate or “speak” to each other. As you’re adding more tools to your arsenal, or building some of your own apps, ask about and explore what kinds of APIs are available or which ones you might need.
The more you work in marketing, the longer the list of tools (and their acronyms) is likely to get. Don’t despair, though. In most cases these tools are designed to help you work faster, easier and better. It’s worth the effort to learn about them, and to use them to build your brand in a way that meets the needs of a digital era.