It’s Time To Drop Vague Ad Phrases Like ‘Digital’ And ‘Mobile’

It’s Time To Drop Vague Ad Phrases Like ‘Digital’ And ‘Mobile’

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No one really knows what 'content marketing', 'mobile advertising' and 'digital advertising' really means anymore.


The rise in popularity of mobile advertising, content marketing, native advertising and the continued focus on digital leads me to one question: Does anyone really know what they are?

I’ve never woken up halfway through a medical operation, but if I did, I’m pretty sure the surgeons would not be asking their assistant for a “metal wedgy thing” to allow them to see the “red blobby bit.” Professions create specific language to allow precise and rapid communication. There is no place for vagueness. It’s not creative to call something different, it’s not more exciting to coin a new word, it’s not useful to be hyperbolic and generate buzz. Whether you’re an architect or a medic, the question is what we do with these tools, not how we label them.

All the more proof that marketing— an entire field of work with no proven qualifications or metrics for comparisons of talent—is not a profession, but rather a sort of art form with more reliable income. But as technology becomes our tool, we need to move toward precision.

Marketing has changed a bit since the undisrupted 1980s. Everything has become amorphous and volatile and the meaning of a wide array of terms has become blended and blurred. The pace and scale of change afford us an excuse for our slackness, but they also create the need for more precise language. Here are three centers of vagueness and how to introduce focus.

Digital advertising: Probably the most widely used expression of the industry for the last 10 years and yet few people would agree on what it means.

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