I started my first big boy job at a top advertising agency in NYC, McCann-Erickson. Working on AT&T. While most of the team was handling TV work and producing print ads for The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time Magazine, I was hired to do the technical products: data lines, network management and software defined networks. I was the B2B guy, which suited me. It’s from whence I came. But AT&T and McCann were the real deal and I was scrambling.
At my first meeting in Bridgewater, NJ, I became inundated with acronyms and telecom terms I’d never heard before. It was like moving to the Ukraine. My head spun. I had to quickly invent a game plan in the pre-internet era. Laptops were few and far between. First step was to create an acronym glossary. One based upon AT&T jargon. When complete the glossary was probably 20 pages long filled with paragraphs of arcane descriptions. I brought that baby with me everywhere. As my team grew, it became a shared resource.
When the Bell Labs and AT&T marketing people saw me with my glossary they giggled but appreciated that I cared. I asked lots of questions; they never held back.
I write a lot about learning the language of the target. In account or project management, learning the language of the client is the first step. Only then can you translate that into the consumer dialect.