‘Thumb-Stopping,’ ‘Humaning,’ ‘B4H,’ : The Strange Language of Modern Marketing

Viewed in The New York Times

To understand today’s marketing lingo, one literally must understand words you won’t find in any standard dictionary.

Many corporate functions, of course, have their lingo and acronyms that have become embedded inside these respective professions, so this is not an entirely new phenomenon.

But marketing seems to lead all corporate functions in carving out a language of its own, as this New York Times article affirms.


Consider the word “humaning.” With aid from advertising giant Ogilvy, food manufacturer Mondelez International is credited with the term’s invention, a definition they offered in a recent corporate press release.

“Humaning is a unique, consumer-centric approach to marketing that creates real, human connections with purpose, moving Mondelez beyond cautious, data-driven tactics, and uncovering what unites us all,” the company said in its release.

Nor does this new marketing lexicon end with “humaning”.

B4H or Brand for Human

This abbreviation for “Brands for Humans” has arrived in the wake of “B2B” (shorthand for “business-to-business”) and “B2C” (“business-to-consumer”).


Thumb-stoppoing is about online content, designed for mobile devices, that catches “someone’s attention enough to stop him or her from scrolling”. 

The list of new words and phrases the marketing profession has created and thrust upon is increasingly voluminous.

Knowing the traditional five P’s of marketing is hardly enough in 2020 as new marketing buzz phrases emerge, including “brand heat,” “customer journey,” “hypertelling,” “occasion,” and “phygital”?

For those looking to define each, this New York Times article is a worthwhile read.   

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