Digital marketing teams told to drop the jargon

Digital marketers need to drop the jargon and focus on how technology can affect positive changes within their wider organisations, according to the CTO of Barrack Obama’s 2012 election campaign.


Speaking today at the DMA Technology Summit, Harper Reed, CTO of the campaign to re-elect Obama to the US Presidency, said esoteric language can often alienate separate teams within an organisation.

“We need to drop the ‘e’ from ‘e-marketing’,” he said. “When me and my team joined the campaign [to re-elect President Obama] we were seen as outsiders and we had to do a lot to dissolve the deficit between us and the regular campaigners.”

When these barriers are broken down, organisations can operate more effectively, according to Reed, who also took aim at buzz-phrases, such as big data, currently popular with many digital teams.

“Big data is just data… we [the technology people] take care of the ‘big’ part and campaigners can then go and use this intelligently,” he said.

“For instance, the people that went out on the streets didn’t have to knock on every door in a row [by using big data insights] they knew which exact doors to knock on where they’d have have a more successful contact,” he added.

Steve Plimsoll, CTO of WPP, also speaking at the same event, explained his view that use of these insights would help agencies’ creative and media-planning units work together more effectively but that jargon can be off-putting.

“We need to migrate creative into media-planning. When you show creatives what data can do [in terms of testing their ideas in planning stages] they get quite excited by it [but initially they’re usually quite hesitant],” he added.

Meanwhile, Reed also forecast that using such large resources of data to more effectively target key users would play a key role in the next US Presidential election cycle – which effectively begins later this year.

“In the next cycle you’re going to probably see candidates choose a CTO with a holistic view on technology,” he said adding that those who make the best use of these insights will be the most successful.

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