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So what is an RTB anyway? > Blog > Briefs > So what is an RTB anyway?

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So what is an RTB anyway?

What is with those acronyms or three letter acronyms in marketing?


I have been working in marketing and Advertising for over 12 years now and along the way I have picked up some very bad habits.

I have to be honest with you and come clean about one of my worst habits. At first it was a conscious decision to use them when I was first learning about Marketing, but now it seems to be second nature. It is the art of the acronym or a better description, those damn Three Letter Acronyms (TLA’s)!

Wordle: RTB

Recently I have been working with an excellent designer who is up and coming and really skilled in web design and coding. As part of my process of communicating what I wanted in the site I created a briefing document and some supporting documents which are how I want the site to look like wire frames and site requirements.

So, happy with my site brief and bits and pieces supplied I diligently sent off the briefing information to my designer. I sent an email and without thinking added in some of those dreaded TLA’s.

Of course I received a very simple response from my Designer, “Brief all good but what is an RTB, I don’t know this type of business speak”.

I had of course fallen into my old ways without thinking and my designer rightly corrected me. You see the key point of Integrati Marketing is to speak in plain English about Marketing. It is one of the company’s founding principles to speak to our customers in plain English and not to ever think of ourselves as “Guru’s”. I believe, and I am pretty sure that I am right, that successful projects are based on clear and consensual communication. In that both parties involved understand why they are working together and what they are working to deliver.

So when a project fails and is not delivered, well I think a lot of this can come down to communication(s) which have not been agreed by part of the project team. Also, I am positive that acronyms or TLA’s are also a pretty darn good cause of mis-communication issues. And here is why, the term ASP what do you think it stands for… maybe a couple of shared terms? Actually it has so far over 50 cataloged acronyms on a site dedicated to cataloging and supplying explanations for all the different acronyms, site is here.

Also, and to put my sociologist ‘hat on’ as they say, I think that acronyms can be traced back to specialities whereby using the specialist language like medicine, science or even marketing allowed you to speak in a groups lingua franca! Or own language, designed just for the members, maybe this is partly why we have to go to University or Tafe to learn all these special terms and acronyms.

So what was the acronym I used with my colleague and designer, well it was RTB or Response to Brief. This is advertising and marketing speak for the receiver of a brief (the Agency) replying back to the customer (the Marketer) with another brief which is their take on the brief.

Now this is actually a good thing, to have the company doing work for you come back and let you know that this is what they think they are doing should only help with getting things right. Great!

But where it falls down is if there are too many acronyms in either the Brief or the Response to Brief.

Something I will be keeping front of mind for my Briefs and my customers, no acronyms!

Till next time, The Integrati team.