There is no other industry in the world more hooked on the drug of jargon, than the marketing industry.
We are constantly inventing meaningless new terms for the same old thing. For example, earned media = publicity. Omni-channel = multi-channel. And so on…
One reason for this, is that people new to marketing (digital marketers) believe marketing was only invented five days ago and everything new to them is new to the world. My friend Drayton Bird demonstrated this in NZ recently.
Another example of our jargon-based mentality is the word the industry has recently manufactured for “dishonesty“. Its use reflects appallingly on the whole marketing industry. Rather than admitting that the industry, particularly the digital marketing segment, is chock-full of cyber-hustlers, liars and money-grabbing spivs, we’ve avoided stating the truth and instead, created a buzzword.
In the marketing industry “dishonesty” is now known as “transparency“. And this buzzword is being flogged to death in talkfests as the amazing solution to dishonesty, even though dishonesty is never mentioned.
In his weekly newsletter, Bob Hoffman recently wrote that Transparency is the phoney flavour of the month. He highlighted how talking about transparency, rather than transparency itself, is all that the industry is doing, giving these examples:
- Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to bring Facebook to an “even higher standard of transparency.”
- Google has issued a “Transparency Report“
- IAB has said “Transparency Is The Key To Programmatic Success”
- Marc Pritchard of P&G, gave an “…impassioned speech on transparency.”
- Keith Weed of Unilever, has “…demand(ed) more transparency” from digital media.
- Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, said “it’s important to be transparent.”
- 4As issued the “4A’s Transparency Guiding Principles of Conduct“
- ANA even created and celebrated Transparency Day!
As Bob asked – Was there a parade? Did you have a Transparency Eve party?
As we all now know folks, the major publisher platforms and sellers of digital advertising have been lying for years. And now they’ve been caught with their hands in the till. But instead of admitting they are dishonest, conducting mass sackings of the people involved and cleaning up the system, they’ve created a buzzword – transparency.
Now everyone in the industry must worship at the altar of transparency, using the George Costanza belief system- it’s not a lie if you believe it.
And the industry prophets deem we must have even more transparency. A whole transparency industry is spawning. An Institute of Transparency will be created. Seminars, white papers, thought leadership and books will be published about transparency.
Explainer videos and transparency personas will abound. And like the cyber-hustlers who call themselves Linkfluencers or Socialfluencers, there will now be Transparinfluencers to guide you on your transparency journey.
Once enough noise is made to completely blur the truth, transparency will transform into the goddess of honesty. All the negative publicity will disappear. (or should that be, all negative earned media will disappear?).
Reminds me of the mindless followers of The Holy Gourd of Jerusalem in The Life of Brian.
Hallelujah – it’s a transparency miracle!
And like many things digital, nothing will change. The industry will continue to remain dishonest, sorry, I mean transparent. And the digital publishers and sellers will go back to what they do best, making money at the expense of their advertisers.
I think I’ll go watch Brian again, just to cheer me up – where’s my VCR?
Transparently connect to me: www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld