Marketers and marketeers

A SPECIAL RING OF HELL IS RESERVED FOR THEM!

Ahem, sorry about that. I mean, it’s probably true, but that’s not actually what I want to write about.

A colleague turned to me today, sucking his teeth and generally looking a bit dramatic in that understated sub-editor way. He pointed at his screen. In the sub-head, ‘marketers’. In the body copy, ‘marketeers’. What devilry.

“I hate that word,” he hissed, deleting one e.

And then, like Carrie Bradshaw, I got to thinking. Marketeer has slightly negative connotations in my mind, possibly having been tainted by profiteer or black marketeer. For me, it conjures up images of someone who markets products recklessly and without conscience, whereas marketer just describes someone who markets stuff. However, it’s entirely possible that I made this up, because I do that sometimes.

As Dictionary.com says, the -eer suffix is “now frequently perjorative”. But does that include marketeer?

Perhaps not. I looked it up in several places, and couldn’t find any evidence of a negative nuance. There is, however, a specific meaning to marketeer, relating to support for EU membership.

Collins

Marketeer:

  1. (British) a supporter of the European Union and of Britain’s membership of it
  2. a marketer

Marketer:

a person employed in marketing

Oxford

Marketeer:

  1. a person who sells goods or services in a market: software marketeers
  2. [with modifier] a person who works in or advocates a particular type of market: in the US libertarians are free marketeers to the bone

Marketer:

(only listed as a derivative of market)

There also seems to be a particular stress on marketeers operating within a market, whereas marketers, perhaps, can just market in any old way. This does seem a rather obscure differentiation, though.

What do you think? Do you see them as equal in meaning? Do you read a negative nuance into one? Are the French involved (they usually are)? Is it a UK/US thang?

If I’m not alone in seeing marketeer in a negative light, it strikes me that it would be a useful thing for those who use it as their job title to be aware of. It can’t help with the marketeering.

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