10 marketing buzzwords you should stop using immediately
It’s easy to get caught up in the jargon of an industry. After all, the more you are exposed to certain words the more likely they are to creep their way into your vocabulary....
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It’s easy to get caught up in the jargon of an industry. After all, the more you are exposed to certain words the more likely they are to creep their way into your vocabulary.
Before you know it, you’ve adopted dozens of new buzzwords into your life without even realizing it. Buzzwords are terms that become very popular and widely used in a short amount of time. Buzzwords initially spread because they add some sort of value to the conversation, but this value starts to fade with the overuse (and misuse!) of the words.
We’ve compiled a list of marketing buzzwords that you’ve probably heard a thousand times and are likely to make your skin crawl.
What does this word even mean? Synergy has become a word that is almost impossible to escape, and is so overused that it almost feels like a joke. In business, synergy is when the combination of two groups becomes stronger than the sum of their parts. However, this definition doesn’t really seem to mean much anymore. The overuse of this word has turned it into more of a placeholder than something that adds value to a conversation.
Leverage seems to be just an overly complicated way to say “use”. It shifts the tone to be more negative, like everything must be a negotiation. Perhaps the most annoying reason for leverage being a buzzword that needs to be laid to rest is the fact that it is not a verb. Everyone out there is throwing leverage around as a verb when it is actually a noun. This should be enough to put leverage into its grave.
Instead of being an expert, people have suddenly become gurus. Guru is a sanskrit term that means master, but it has developed into a go-to buzzword when pitching clients to the media. The overuse of guru causes one to seem less credible than if they were to just simply say that they are an expert. It implies a level of bragging about their skills, but does not actually put tangible value on said skills. The word becomes less valuable and more obnoxious with every use.
In today’s world, everyone seems to have an obsession with going viral. However, there is no perfect formula for achieving virality. It isn’t something that you can plan, and because you can’t predict the future, there is no way to know if your efforts will work. The term is extremely vague and overused, and it adds almost zero value to a conversation. Going viral is simply a daydream, not a concrete strategy or action.
Somewhere along the way the word hack transformed from your worst nightmare into something you strive towards. If you hear that your computer has been hacked you suddenly shift into panic mode. However, if you see the headline for an article for “The Best PR hacks for gaining leads” you’re suddenly filled with excitement. Hack is an annoying buzzword because it sounds like you are deceiving someone or circumventing a normal process to get your way. Instead of something being a valuable tip it has become a hack, and you have suddenly become a mastermind.
This is a word that is often used in the wrong place at the wrong time. Passionate has become a word that people throw in to describe anything that they are interested in. This changes the tone of a situation to seem over the top and insincere. How many people are truly “passionate” about PPC or profit margins? Instead of saying passionate, use words like specialize, focus, or dedicated.
In a sea of words used to over exaggerate something, groundbreaking takes the cake. This word is the perfect example of hyperbole because there is very little a person can actually do to physically break the ground, yet people continue to use this word as if they are the Hulk. If you are someone that uses groundbreaking to describe any sort of exciting action, it’s important to realize that it loses all of its spark when you say it seven different times in one meeting.
When I hear the word curate, my mind immediately pictures a museum or an art gallery. However, curate has become a buzzword that people use instead of just simply saying that they created something. Buzzwords tend to overcomplicate things. They also seem to be used when people want to sound more intelligent or in an attempt to fit in. Curate is definitely the perfect example of a buzzword people use when they are trying to create an illusion for themselves.
Here is another marketing buzzword that stemmed from a completely unrelated industry and found its way into the hearts of business professionals. As a buzzword, bandwidth refers to someone’s workload and availability. Traditionally, bandwidth is a computer term that refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time or range within a band of frequencies or wavelengths. Somewhere along the way bandwidth became adopted as a favorite term for business instead of a way to describe a range of data.
Disrupt is a word that overhypes a product to the point of it becoming overwhelming upon arrival. While it is possible that you have created a product that will change the direction of the world, it probably isn’t the most probable thing to happen. The word disrupt implies that something is revolutionary and is shaking up the industry, which adds a lot of pressure to previous expectations. When choosing your vocabulary, try to be realistic so that you can keep your audience’s expectations level within reality. Once you cut down your use of marketing buzzwords, your message will become clearer and more powerful.
About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Swyft. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Swyft has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.