Words, terms and descriptions of the latest U.S. led aerial bombardments now underway in the Iraq and Syria, have an uncanny similarity to marketing lingo. While real world battles are far more serious than the flimsy celluloid and ephemeral airwaves that carry an advertiser’s message, our non-violent nomenclature is a knockoff.
Whenever I come across news reports of war, I can’t help notice how marketing also uses militant language like “prolonged campaign”, “targeting”, “data mining”, “data capture”, “viral” or even “guerrilla.”
Seeing this jargon phenomenon morph over the years, whenever I speak to groups about marketing, I often use terms that are familiar to them due to cable news and create an entire analogy based on the idea of “a battle for market share” (without the violence and wreckage.) After all, whether they’re a business or a non-profit, they need to round up and capture consumers, get their vital stats and turn them into loyal customers and advocates for the brand (sound familiar?)
For those news junkies who are non-marketing types, here’re a few terms that cut across pop-culture, media and marketing.
Target Intel: Before any advertising or marketing dollars are spent on media or production of any kind, it’s best to first begin with research. Similarly, before we attack another country or drop any bombs, we need to know who they are, where they are, what they’re after and what the result is going to be.
Strategic Objective: Once a target is in sight, you’ll need a clearly defined goal. What do you want your consumer to do? Do you want them to go online or get in the car and head to the mall? Do you simply want to spread awareness or do you need them to take some sort of action, such as provide their email information or simply “like” your page.
Air War: I liken public relations to air power. It’s a great way to cover a lot of area and build a up brand, but one can’t solely rely on it to move troops of customers. Similarly, as we’re hearing on the news now - air power alone can’t win a war. Having one article about your company appear one time is probably not going to do very much either. It needs a sustained campaign in order to generate significant awareness.
Boots On The Ground: In order to make an impact in battle, we often hear how we’ll need “boots on the ground.” This is your sales-force, needed to go house-to-house if necessary to hand-deliver the message that was honed from intelligence and based on a clear directive.
Special Ops: In certain instances, traditional marketing may not be the right course of action to achieve the intended objective. You may have to consider alternatives by going under-the-radar to reach a difficult to find customer.
Most important: There’s usually no one secret weapon that can win by itself. It’s often a combination of forces that surround a really smart idea with a truly dedicated team.
Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com.