Dawn Southgate is Head of Knowledge at the CIM. This month, she takes us through the sometimes confusing world of TLAs. For more information, you can email email@example.com
TLAs or Three Letter Acronyms
How often have you been in a meeting and someone insists in talking in TLAs? It can get confusing for all involved and engender a feeling of exclusion.
Marketing is littered with them and whilst not all are strictly acronyms some are initialisms (an Acronym is word formed from the initial letters of the other words e.g. Laser or Aids – Oxford English Dictionary) their usage should perhaps be tempered. Here are a few that are used regularly in my world. The ones in brackets are slang terms using the same letters – I’ll leave you to consider which best describes the acronym.
- CPD – Continuing Professional Development – www.cim.co.uk/cpd
- PMS – Professional Marketing Standards – www.cim.co.uk/standards or Performance Management System
- CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility or Customer Service Representative
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management or Cause Related Marketing
- B2B – Business to Business or Back to Basics
- B2C – Business to Consumer or Business to Customer
- C2C – Consumer to Consumer (Cradle to Cradle or Cam to Cam)
- C2B – Consumer to Business or Corporate to Bank OR Cost to benefit
- G2G – Government to Government (Got to Go, Good to go, Good to great)
- G2B – Government to Business [Groom to be or Got to bounce!)
- B2G – Business to Government or Business to Giving
- C2G – Consumer to Government (Cradle to Grave)
- UGC – User Generate Content
- IMC – Integrated Marketing Communications
- ROI – Return on Investment
- NPD – New Product Development or New Product Divestment
- FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
- SMT – Senior Management Team (Sucking my Teeth)
So if you want to be understood, reduce the acronyms or should that be BTW, getting BOT, if you are TCB you need to speak clearly!* Something the Plain English Campaign would also recommend.
If you are trying to find alternative words to clean up your writing then they have a handy list of alternative words. They also have a range of downloadable guides including How to write in plain English, Writing business e-mails and Websites. There is also a grammar test for the pendants amongst us!
*By the way, getting back on track, if you are taking care of business, you need to speak clearly!