The following is a guest post from Jack Napoli, who has been a member of the HubSpot community for over 3 years. With 31 years in High Tech and 26 years in Direct Sales, Customer Care & Sales Development, Jack has a lot of experience getting his messages through the clutter. He’s now a semi-retired entrepreneur and acronym enthusiast focused on Sales Education, Coaching, and Consulting. You can contact him at

As Kevin Kelly, internet pop icon and co-founder of Wired magazine said in the New Rules for the New Economy, “the only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.”

In this internet and media driven world we live in, we all have the same limitations when it comes to retaining information. Acronyms help your clients manage the abundance of information about you, your products, and services. They cut through the noise and communicate who you are and what you do in the most memorable fashion.

Use can use acronyms to:

•    sell to potential clients.
•    expand your footprint with existing customers.
•    attract investors.
•    educate sales & marketing people.
•    communicate with your executive teams.

I, like most people, find that retaining large amounts of information can be difficult. Information is easier to recall when written and spoken communications are grouped into nuggets of distinction. I’m an acronym lover and have been using acronyms for as long as I can remember. They are a learning tool that I’ve used throughout my schooling and my career. I swear, if not for acronyms, there would be no diplomas at any level. Now, I pass on the secret to creating lasting acronyms to you.

Create Remarkable Acronyms Using the 4 R’s

To become remarkable, I believe an acronym needs to have the characteristics of the 4 R’s:

Retain - Is your message simplified so your audience can retain it?
Recall - Can the audience recall your message in 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 martinis later?
Repeat - Can they repeat it?
Research - If they cannot do the above, do they at least know what the acronym is so they can research why you are relevant in their world?

Give Your Acronym Meaning, Stickiness and Legs using SIMPLE

Acronyms simplify your message and make it easy for the masses to articulate your value proposition when you are not around (which is usually about 99% of the time). If your audience can’t remember what you, your reps, or champions told them after your conversation, you’ve only created more work for yourself. Use my SIMPLE acronym to help give your acronym maximum impact and longevity.

Simple – Are they 3-6 characters in length?
Immediate Impact - Do they communicate your competitive advantage, product superiority or customer intimacy?
Meaningful – Does the acronym compliment the subject matter?
Purposeful - Do you have so many acronyms that you actually dilute the overall effectiveness of your message?
Lasting – Does it have quantifiable, tangible, or distinctiveness at its core so it’s value is immediate and will stand the test of time?
Engaging – Does it jump out at you and your audiences so your message is remarkable?

Acronyms Help the Swarm Carry Your Messages Away

Acronyms are the gifts you give your swarm, so they should be SIMPLE enough for them to carry away. First step to accomplishing this is to known what information is hard for your audience to understand, then simplify that information into an acronym using SIMPLE.

In his 1-hour webinar, "A CEO's Guide To Internet Marketing," Brian Halligan was able to educate an audience of over 4,000 on the strategies and power of internet marketing as a competitive advantage. He did this by usings acronyms to group important bits of information together. One of the most powerful acronyms he used was DARC, a method for recruiting the right people to your marketing team 

D - Digital Natives

A - Analytical

R - Reach

C - Content Creator

This acronym was the arrow in his quiver that focused us on the "bulls eye" of the HubSpot hiring strategy and thusly, the HubSpot message itself.

Acronyms Aren't Just Viral, They're Also Long Lasting

If you need proof as to the lasting qualities of acronyms, I turn you to one sales qualification methodology coined by a colleague of mine, Dick Dunkle, and myself over 13 years ago, which is still used in quite a few Fortune 1,000 accounts.

It is called MEDDIC™:

Economic Decision Maker
Decision Criteria
Decision Process
Identify Pain / Opportunity

Success leaves tracks.  Dick and I were lucky enough to be in sales development in a company that grew from $300 million in sales (350 sales people) to over $1.0 billion (800 sales people) in 5 years. When we won, we could reconstruct the opportunity and find answers to MEDDIC™ throughout; if we lost, you could find half hearted attempts at MEDDIC™ all around the shallow, unmarked graves of the dead sales cycles. 

In summary, I’ll end with an acronym from one of my first Toastmasters sessions, T3:

•    Tell ‘em what you are going tell ‘em,
•    Tell ‘em
•    Tell ‘em what you told ‘em.

...and remember to always CIAO (Create, Improve, Act, Overachieve). Heh, I couldn’t resist!

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 photo by thrig

Originally published Dec 1, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


Marketing Strategy