It’s a sad fact, but many otherwise healthy and active marketers I have met over the years suffer from a debilitating affliction that only seems to be of growing concern in the industry. It is often contracted at University, and the symptoms can become even more severe once graduates enter the workforce.

The disease I am talking about, of course, is Acronyms No-one Understands Syndrome (ANUS). I’m sure many of you have been CC’d or FYI’d by sufferers at some point, requesting the latest ROI figures, or EOI, RFP, and RFQ updates. They may have even commented on your B2B CPCs. Whatever it may be, chances are, if you work in marketing, at some point you’ve been exposed to ANUS.

Now you’re probably, like, OMG WTF, and to be fair, we all like to ROFLMAO every now and then, but the concern with ANUS is that if it’s not diagnosed correctly and treated early, it can be very hard to cure. In fact, around 90% of long-term ANUS sufferers go on to develop the secondary infection, BUM (Buzzword Usage Mania). And as you can imagine, the combination of BUM and ANUS is not pretty.

The real concern with the disease is that people are often unaware they are sufferers, because they are working in an environment that actually encourages the growth of ANUS and BUM. It is hard to shake the bug when your workplace is crawling with SEOs, SEMs, CTAs and KPIs, and you’re literally growth-hacking innovative hyperlocal solutions for your journey of ideation. In hot-house conditions like these, it can quickly go viral.

Even those who don’t experience FBS (Full-Blown Symptoms) can still be carriers, picking up just enough of the disease to develop the pre-curser infection, BLAH (Bullshit Laden Amount of Hot-air) and transfer it to another unsuspecting colleague. And infection of the back end with ANUS and BUM can be catastrophic.

Fortunately, low level exposure in marketing departments and agencies can reduce the harmful effects of the disease on co-workers that have not contracted it. But it is when sufferers are removed from these rarefied environments that BUM and ANUS can become really ugly.

People in the real world have not developed the necessary defences to ward off the disease. Crucially, this includes clients. And because clients come into contact with marketers more frequently than the general public, they are particularly at risk. In fact there have been many documented cases of clients having such an adverse reaction to ANUS and BUM that they develop the SHITS (Severely Heightened Intolerance of Terminology Syndrome).

The best way to combat the disease is to go out and talk to people outside your industry as much as possible, and when I say ‘talk’, I really mean ‘listen’. You will find that most people (including clients) like using words, not acronyms and terminology that is unintelligible to anyone outside the myopic bubble of marketing.

So if you think your acronym usage is a little OTT, and you’d like to avoid giving your clients the SHITS, I’d suggest you give yourself an ANUS and BUM check. ASAP.