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  • Writer's pictureStanton Willins

Speaking the Same Language

Updated: May 30, 2023

There is an easy trap that we all fall victim to as marketers: it’s assuming we all have the same definitions when it comes to marketing terms. This is evident in many of the terms we use, like “Marketing System of Record” (MSOR), which can be broadly applied to a variety of marketing tools and technologies. Furthermore, its meaning can vary based on things like a company's size, industry, and marketing strategy.

We were recently reminded of this phenomenon after a virtual hallway conversation (who goes to an office anymore!?) between colleagues.


Let’s go back to the MSOR term and use it as an example. If someone is coming from more of a data background their first thoughts may tend to skew towards data platforms, integrations, and marketing software. To them, a MSOR is a golden record for linking promotional and transactional data, enabling customer segmentation, and seeding analytics. Alternatively, other colleagues who do a lot of work with marketing operation processes may lean towards experiential marketing (ex. persona development, customer journeys, and user experiences). To them, MSOR is about tying all of the operational components together to run marketing - think Adobe’s Workfront.

Even though they work at the same company and participate in the same projects, they each have their own experiences and POV that color the way they ascribe meaning to certain industry terms.

So, when you begin your next big project, we highly recommend that you start by aligning the project team on what you mean when you say <insert industry term>. You want to standardize the terms with agreed upon meanings to avoid any potential mishaps later.


As a final thought, we challenge you to ask your colleagues:

  • How do they define a Marketing System of Record?

  • What do they think is the difference between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)? Pssssst: we find people often lump the two together or mix the two up.

  • What’s the purpose/role of a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Let us know what you find out!

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