Say This...Don't Say That!

As I prepare for workshops with digital sales organizations I immerse myself in their sales materials, positioning statements, website, trade marketing and more. I want to know all I can; not just about the company's unique strengths, but also about how they talk about those strengths. And I've concluded that there are several phrases and terms in our industry that have now lost all meaning and, if used, actually do harm to the seller's cause. I hear dead words.....and they don't even know they're dead. So without further ado, I debut The Drift's first annual "Do Not Say List."

Transparency. A term so ridiculously overused that it should be euthanized and buried immediately. You can almost feel the eyes rolling as soon as it's uttered. Substitutes: Clarity, Certainty.

Brand-Safe. As I've said before in this space, "brand safety" is a haven for scoundrels. The idea that we can make undifferentiated network and exchange inventory "safe" by applying some monitoring software is pretty questionable. But above all else, "safe" is far too low a bar. Substitutes: Brand Growth Environment, Brand Enhancing Environment.

DSP. Forget the fact that people use this term interchangeably when referring to everything from the agency trading desk to the hard core technology provider. Find me a company today that will stand up and proudly say, "Yeah...DSP! That's us!" How fast the journey from being an "It" acronym to being a pariah. Substitutes: I have no idea.

Optimization. At best it's a promise to vanish behind the curtain, apply some unseen magic, and emerge somehow with an improved result or process. But really it means making the click-rate incrementally better or the price somehow cheaper. Substitutes: Cutting Your Price, Bonusing Inventory to Goose the Response Rate.

Attribution. Hey, didn't we just get this one? Yeah, but it's going to be the Jeremy Lin of digital metrics. Besides, with so little desire for genuine attribution metrics on the buy side, what's the point? Substitute: Short-Term DR Goalpost of the Moment.

Partner. Please. This is something sellers say when they want to pretend they're not really selling anything, and that buyers say when they want to get rate concessions and not make any commitments. Substitutes. Vendor, Seller.

Disagree? Have a term or two of your own to add? Have at it.