What does "selective" actually mean?

Benno Maggi explains in his column "What does... actually mean?" terms from the field of marketing and communication. This time he shares his thoughts on the term "trennscharf".

Not everything in the industry has become very clear-cut, just like that. Why is that? The term originally comes from broadcasting technology. But it would be presumptuous to hold Roger Schawinski responsible for the fact that this word is currently so popular. Even if, thanks to his efforts against the FM switch-off, the 60,000 signatures for a petition were obtained within a very short time, which reminds nostalgics in the industry of the good old 80s. At that time, unlimited budgets could be squandered without any separation to the resulting results. Instead, the word is experiencing its hype because of the emerging importance of statistics and their language rules within marketing and communication.

In statistics, "selective" means "precisely distinguishable, distinct from other results". This, in turn, has its justification in our industry, where ideas for #MeToo campaigns, imagery and media strategies are commonplace.

Despondent instead of innovative

What the common consumers of the various channels are subjected to in terms of uniform advertising and communication mash borders on torture. Whether it's major distributors, banks, insurers or consumer products - within the respective sectors and between the elaborately produced campaigns of the individual competitors, the target groups can hardly tell the difference. Which brand was that again? Doesn't matter. Or just not. Unfortunately, it is of little use when in meetings between the client and the creator there is more and more talk of not being able to distinguish between what is being done and what is actually being done, and by this is actually meant that one is being despondent instead of innovative. The word "wishy-washy" used for this in the 80s was already more discriminating between good and bad.


Benno Maggi is co-founder and CEO of Partner & Partner. He has been eavesdropping on the industry for over 30 years, discovering words and terms for us that can either be used for small talk, pomposity, excitement, playing Scrabble or just because.

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