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October 15, 2007 | Tate Linden
I actually happen to like the AMA quite a lot... So it is with a bit of sadness and angst that I question the addition of what appears to be a new feature in the Marketing News magazine. In September the acronym was "USP." They give us a friendly hint that it doesn't have anything to do with the Postal Service. And then they tell us that it means "unique selling proposition" and go on to explain what that means. If you know marketing you know what USP means - and if you don't you probably won't be reading a magazine only given to AMA members...

This month the acronym is SaaS - standing for "Software as a Service" which the folks at the AMA seem to think "effectively renders the terms ASP (application service provider) and on-demand obsolete."

A few points:

One - ASP deserves to be rendered obsolete. Why go to the trouble of making an acronym that means something and is pronouncable and then ignore both the meaning and obvious pronunciation? I see the letters A, S, and P and I say "asp." One syllable. Neat. Maybe a little scary. Why make it three? Weren't acronyms meant too save us effort?

Two - There's no way SaaS will make ASP obsolete. SaaS is almost impossible to type correctly on the first try. Most word processors automatically switch the last letter to lower case. Mine did so, then suggested that what I really wanted to say was Seas, Sagas, Saabs, Sass, or Salas. At least ASP doesn't violate any word processing standards that I can think of.

Three - How would you pronounce SaaS? Does the last letter give it emphasis? Does a double A give it a long vowel sound? It could be "Sass" or "Sayce" or "Says" or "Sayz" or "SaySUH" or something else.

Four - If SaaS is the acronym of the month then why isn't it found anywhere on AMA's website?

There's more, but I've got proposals to write and clients to serve.

This all begs a single question for me.

Why would an organization teaching about marketing suggest any acronym as being "of the month"? Acronyms are shortcuts. Acronyms eliminate the message. Acronyms take the oomph out of marketing. Acronyms cost more money in the long run...

When was the last time you thought to yourself... THAT is one beautiful acronym? (FCUK excepting...)

P.S. - I do know that the feature is meant to be educational... but if that's the case then why suggest that the acronym is good? Ah well. Perhaps I'm just grouchy today.
Jeffry Pilcher October 15, 2007 4:31 PM

So acronyms are Sucky?

Tate Linden October 15, 2007 5:05 PM

Only when I'm on a deadline will I commit to that statement.

Jeffry Pilcher October 19, 2007 3:28 PM


Doc Mike October 29, 2007 2:08 PM

Shouldn't there be some rule about borrowing another (better known) organization's acronym?
I am sure most people who hear AMA are thinking "American Medical Association",

and not "American Marketing Association"...I suppose I might be the only person to read

your post who thought USP was the "United States Pharmacopeia".