Issue 84: Berky's Marketing English (vol. 1)
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

The last thing I ever expected to attempt to write was a dictionary.

As I started to write it, it turned out not to be a dictionary at all. A dictionary provides meanings. With my newest project, Berky's Marketing English: A Quaint Compendium for Modern Marketers, I am attempting to offer meaning.

How can you understand marketing today from a practical perspective? When you see a word like “impression” or “programmatic,” what does it really mean? What is the significance? Do these terms make any sense at all? 

One way to do this is to approach terminology with the authority of a governing body, like editors of an established dictionary or the officers of an industry trade association. Another is to crowdsource ideas, such as in a wiki. Wikipedia probably offers definitions for all of the terms and concepts that follow; at times, I’ve cross-checked my work with Wikipedia’s and cited the crowd’s wisdom when appropriate. But both the authoritative and crowdsourced approaches feel too distant and inert. They must settle on versions everyone is likely to agree with.

Instead, I am using the format of a dictionary or encyclopedia to share more personal perspectives -- perspectives that no one may agree with. They are completely unauthoritative. They are biased. Lines that crack me up as I write them may not come off as jokes at all. Experts in their field who understand any given concept better than I do will quickly conclude that I have no business writing any of this. 

That's a fair assessment.

For much of my career, I’ve been the dumbest person in the room trying to keep up, and in the process, I’ve been connecting concepts and ideas in ways that give the smarter people around me a different perspective. Occasionally, that even leads to insight (see also: Insights). It’s been my modus operandi for two decades in practically every meeting I’ve attended, column I’ve written, and conference I’ve spoken at.

When it works, it’s like a moment out of the end of an episode of Columbo. When it doesn’t, there’s little harm done, as I remain the dumbest one in the room. It’s a form of thinking out loud, learning by doing, and having fun trying, flipping the focus from the destination to the journey.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, one that is just getting started.

The inspiration for the guide struck as I finished reading Benjamin Dreyer’s eponymous Dreyer’s English, a series of ruminations about the written word based on his illustrious (not illustrated) copy editing career (or is it copy-editing career?). While I read it (past tense), it struck me how much the marketing field could use its own version.

Vain and foolhardy as I am, I sat down and started writing Berky’s Marketing English.

The first entry was “Impressions,” and I started defining it as “a metric that never actually determines if a unit of advertising made an impression on someone.” This is not how marketing guides are written, so I kept writing. "Betty White" and "La Croix" soon joined "influencer marketing" and "virtual reality." There is much more to write. I'm adding a sampling in a new section below. The news, jobs, and events remain further down, with updates to all as usual. 

I'm including several entries today from a much larger pool; you're here to read a newsletter, not a book. Whether this becomes a regular series (or a book) is in large part up to you; I already have 15 pages written with dozens of entries. I welcome hearing thoughts on what other terms should be defined and enshrined here. If you think your idea is too obvious, remember that you are smarter than me, and I am just trying to keep up.

Enjoy this one person’s attempt to find meaning in marketing and share it with others.

Beyond your feedback, I will enjoy hearing your answer to one question: What are you making of yourself?



Correction: Last week, I referred to the Brave browser as having 11.5 monthly active users. That is not correct. They do not count half-people. The number should have been 11.5 million. My apologies to Brave and to anyone who thought Brave was counting them as anything less than a full human being.

PS: My open rate plummeted when I messed with the subject line format last week. I'll stick to this one.


Also known as an advertisement or advert. I can write whatever I want here because you already skipped, blocked, or ignored this entry. That’s okay because I will be retargeting you with Serial Marketer offers until Labor Day.

Formerly Advertising Age.

The name change was a rare case of cutting Advertising in order to attract more advertising.

Ad Tech
Advertising technology.

Also written as adtech and ad-tech.

However it’s written, it sounds much better than mar tech. (See Mar Tech)

Ad tech should be subset of mar tech. However, common usage tends to imply that the two are entirely different sectors or categories. Whenever one of the sectors has a breakout hit in terms of a company with a successful initial public offering or funding round, everyone from both sectors claims that the hot company is in the sector they are in.

A local bookseller. The CEO will build an extra headquarters in your hardscrabble, working-class town if you buy him a cup of coffee and give him $50 billion in tax breaks.

When a brand says they need something ASAP, they wanted it yesterday.

When an agency says they will deliver something ASAP, they will ask the account lead how long they can stall until the client starts getting angry.

When a tech vendor says they will deliver something ASAP, it means they haven’t even thought of doing this and are debating whether to add it to the roadmap.

When a journalist says they need a quote ASAP, you have about 10 minutes. Some people actually mean what they say.

I'm skipping ahead to samplings from "I" here given how this is how the compendium started. 

A metric that never actually determines if a unit of advertising made an impression on someone. The Oxford dictionary cited by Google refers to the broader, non-industry-specific meaning of “impression” as “an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone,” and advertisers would be thrilled if those were actual human responses to the industry-specific impressions that they generate. Oxford continues to note that broadly-defined impressions are formed “on the basis of little evidence,” and there is indeed little evidence that advertising impressions generate any impression on any impressionable human.

Most tallies of impressions should be assumed to be touched up by impressionism, or at least the kind of artistry known as bullshit. A class on such artistry is hardly needed given how many experts our industry already has in that field.

Also note that Pablo Picasso was not an impressionist, but in preparing to depict one of the figures in “Guernica” and his later lithograph series “The Bull,” he may have at one point been a literal bullshit artist.

Impressions, Viewable
A newer class of impressions, or Impressions 2.0, comprises these viewable versions. These refer to “adverts” (according to Wikipedia), that were “actually seen by a human being.” Seeing (or viewing) the term “advert” is likely to comfort linguistically-insecure Americans, but occupationally-insecure advertisers should continue to have their worries.

First, note the inclusion of the word “actually” as if to denote the shock that a living, conscious being may have been exposed to said adverts. You don’t refer to street signs as messages that “actually” tell you where you’re going, and you don’t refer to gastroenterologists as physicians who “actually” remove esophageal polyps.

If the idea is to show adverts that have been seen, why refer to “viewable”? Between the term “viewable impressions” and the definition provided here, it exemplifies the industry’s mastery of bet-hedging. Read it as the industry declaring, “We would love to say that said advert has been viewed, and that the viewer was a conscious Homo sapien, but we will settle for the possibility that a person may have viewed it, and we will call that an improvement.” Adding the redundant term “viewable” to the misplaced term “impression” is what counts as innovation in advertising. If it isn't viewable, it should not be an impression at all.

Often used as a synonym for “data” or “trends.”

If 14% of Instagram accounts feature pets on skateboards, that is data.

If that percentage is up from three years ago when only 4% of Instagram accounts featured pets on skateboards, and that figure has been steadily climbing ever since, that is a trend.

If skateboard manufacturers use this information to start developing skateboards specifically designed for different types and sizes of pets, that is an insight.

Calling every fact, figure, and trend an insight is an insult not only to actual insights but to the necessary roles that facts, figures, and trends perform.
That's just the start, with much more to come, along with more illustrations by Nicanor Benitez from Buenos Aires who provided the Amazon sketch above. Let me know what you think and what else should be covered. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


The Knicks are hiring a team that has a more impressive record, at least in recent years: the agency Translation. Translation's head coach, Steve Stoute, told Bloomberg, "Winning cures a lot of problems. Great marketing and exciting entertainment cure all problems." I'm a marketer, and the first thing I always look for in a company I work with is a strong product. If you're not going to invest in the product, don't bother investing in the marketing. 

In Greg Sterling's analysis and roundup, he shared some thoughts of mine about Google blocking third-party cookies. I included references to John Wanamaker, heroin, and geese. Better still, you and I get to sample the thoughts of a number of luminaries including: Aaron Grote (Great Clips), Kristina Podnar (consultant / author), Chad C. Waetzig (Crunch Fitness), Victor Wong (Thunder), Margie Schneider (L Brands), and Simon Poulton (WPromote). Aaron, Simon, and I even had a fun discussion when I shared this on LinkedIn, so thanks, Greg, for bringing us all together.  

I was curious what was driving the dislikes though. It seems to be all about Google omitting Michael Jackson. I get how one's race and background might color (pardon) how one views the ad. But for me (and yes, I'm white), it's the first time in a while I watched an ad twice in a row. What I love most is that the ad itself references American history and says nothing about Black History Month. (I did watch Hyundai's "Smaht Pahk" ad twice, but not in a row.)


Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.

January 30, 6:30pm: Startup & Early Stage Shark Tank
Don't miss an evening of quick pitches by some of New York's most exciting startups and early stage companies as well as Gotham's Media's signature food and drinks. Join investors and seasoned entrepreneurs to learn what's hot and what's not in the City's vibrant startup community.

February 5, Royalton Park Avenue (29th St)
Serial Marketers has teamed up with First Wednesdays to bring back this long-standing tradition in NYC. Every month, we meet at the top-floor penthouse bar from 6-9. While Zack Rosenberg and Rachel Herskovitz post the event links on Facebook, if you want the recurring invite on your calendar, just let me know, and I'll add you to it. I'm also now sending updates via Meetup.

February 25
Hosted by SimilarWeb, they have some terrific speakers like my friend Kevin Lee of Did-It fame, and I'll be going to this one.  

(I'll have more updates on SXSW as we get closer.)
March 11, 2020
Austin, TX
Attention Designers! Place by Design is a pitch competition aimed at showcasing innovative and invigorating design in the public sphere. Urbanists, artists, architects, and designers have the opportunity to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape.

Awards ceremony: March 27, 2020, in Venice, Italy
BOLD Awards recognizes top companies, projects and individuals powering breakthroughs around the world.

April 29-30
I loved this event so much in New York that I'm joining them in Chicago as both a speaker and media sponsor. I'll be speaking about how to build and run a successful B2B community, and of course I will be including examples from many others, with a bit of experience covering mistakes I've made that others can learn from.

May 13-14, 2020
"The premier global gathering in visual tech" is run by one of my favorite firms of any sort out there, LDV Capital. They specialize in bringing some of the best people together in all sorts of ways.


Reach out to me if you want introductions or any additional information, and let me know if you have other job postings you'd like to share. There have also been many job updates within the Slack community, so if you're part of that, be sure to check the #jobs channel for more. 

Director of Product Marketing
Via Dorothy in Slack: "I’m hiring a Director (head) of Product Marketing at Paxos in NYC. Paxos is a B2B fintech startup using blockchain tech, building infrastructure to make assets more accessible and to make them move faster in a new, open financial system. The company is full of mission-driven, smart, kind, humble, ambitious and collaborative people. Looking for a player/coach to build and run this brand new function." DM or email her in Slack, or apply directly. I can make an intro as needed.

Marketing Director (Product)
This is an opportunity to be their first marketing hire. See lots of details in the description. They also have customer success roles open. If you're in Slack, you can find the post and contact Melissa.

Senior Account Manager
Brooklyn, NY
Via my friend David Yarus. Let me know if you want me to refer you: "Looking for a rockstar client-service account lead for one of our core accounts. Ideally 6+ years agency CS experience, tired of the big agency world and seeking quality of life and work/life/vibe-alignment. Competitive comp. Need someone who loves owning the client relationship, understands digital / social / performance, and down with light team travel & WFH Wednesdays."

Director, Product Marketing
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Attribution
Foursquare has some exciting openings in New York. Check out the links, find Daniela in Slack, or let me know if you want an intro.

Content & Marketing Lead
This is a terrific role for someone with a job or two under their belt. The firm's terrific, and I can get relevant hires in front of them myself. "At LDV Capital we are searching for a Content & Marketing Lead to own content creation, strategy, planning and implementation. This is a great opportunity for a writer and content creator to join our growing early stage venture capital fund."

Other job resources:
-Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more
-ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted
-Facebook Groups: NYC Ad Jobs & Networking
-TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups
-VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads

Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I'll share them.


David Berkowitz, publisher


100+ TECH RECOMMENDATIONS (updated regularly)

18 TYPES OF STARTUP MARKETERS (now in quiz form, thanks to Riddle)

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