Overrated Marketing Buzzwords You Should Quit Using

August 12, 2020 Liezel Stephanie Lawagan
avoid marketing buzzwords

Overrated marketing buzzwords are like those stereotypical birthday cakes that are 60% fatty, sugary icing, and 40% dry bread. We might enjoy the first few bites regardless if it’s delicious or not but not a lot of people really finish the whole cake on their own. For most of us, a slice is good. Two is great. Three or whatever your satiation limit might even be cool just to make sure you’re really satisfied, you know? Another bite though would be pushing it to an unpleasant trip to the comfort room.

Like that fun-colored party cake, once you’ve had too many of these buzzwords, you’ll be ready to vomit them all up.

Unfortunately, they’re everywhere. They’re overused, misused, and more importantly, they allow people to dance around genuine, original, helpful, and fruitful ideas. And frankly, they’re just irritating. Sure, they might appear trendy or whatnot but savvy customers would immediately see through that rubbish. They also make your company look amateur and less professional. Instead of connecting with your customers, you might even turn them off.

The Problem with Marketing Buzzwords: Good Jargon vs. Bad Jargon

All marketers are guilty of using buzzwords at one point or another and that’s not bad. The key is minimization. How much you use it and the way you use it can greatly impact your relationship with your customers.

When used correctly, marketing buzzwords establish you as an industry insider. Take terms like “demand generation” and “revenue attribution.” Outsiders may not be fully familiar with them but they’re essential terms in the industry. This is good jargon.

On the other hand, bad jargon or non-specific business language that can easily be translated into simpler terms can create language exclusivity. Instead of sounding like a trustworthy expert, you only confuse your customers and chase them away with that industry jargon. Instead of meeting their needs, you only send out an unclear and frankly, unhelpful message. Remember, you need to form connections with your customers and you do that by speaking how they speak.

With that, here are some of the most common overrated marketing buzzwords that you should start weeding out from your marketing vocabulary.

1. Snackable Content

Points for creativity but this is the most unappetizing marketing buzzwords can get. It simply implies that your audience would be able to browse through the content and extract information quickly. Think lists, bullet points, and concise headlines.

The concept is all fine and dandy. It’s simply the term itself that induces the cringe. Next time, try a better analogy or try using something closer to the mother term “content consumption.”

2. Smarketing

This is another ugly duckling term that leaves an unpleasant, bitter taste in the mouth. Take those few seconds and that minuscule amount of effort to say “sales and marketing.” Seriously, it doesn’t take much.

3. Unprecedented

Yes, it’s an accurate description of our current situation but so are other hundred words. We’re all tired of seeing “unprecedented” in every piece of content related to this pandemic. And frankly, it does nothing to ease the stress and anxiety we’re all experiencing right now. As Adele Revella, CEO of Buyer Persona Institute said, write that sentence if you must, then delete and move onto your next sentence as your lead.

4. Leverage

It may look and sound good but this word is often unnecessarily complex. Use it if you must and if it serves your idea better. If not, delete and use “use” or “help” instead. They’re more conversational and more human.

5. Empathy

This word is one of the best cases for showing it rather than saying or writing it. Oftentimes, rather than implying the emotion itself, the word becomes a shorthand for manipulating emotions to seem like the brand cares for those clicks. Replace “empathy” with more precise words like “meaningful,” “useful,” or “enjoyable.”

6. Growth Hacking

With the word “hack” in there, you’d immediately think of shortcuts to your desired outcome. For instance, take those numerous life hacks and study hacks out there. Two decades ago, a clearer idea of that is what growth hacking was. Simply put, it meant finding non-traditional ways to achieve growth. Today, however, the term has become something that loosely refers to any method or technique that can help a business grow regardless if it’s marketing related or not.

7. Actionable Insights

When someone uses this term, it makes one wonder what they’ve been doing with all the other insights that they don’t call “actionable.” If people can’t act on the insights they’re seeing, then what’s the point of it all? “Actionable” is simply redundant.

8. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has come a very long way. Oftentimes though, when some marketers use the term, they don’t understand what AI really is nor do they understand the underlying technology. If you want to use it, better make sure you understand what it is and what it does.

9. Digital Transformation

Digital is never stagnant. It transforms every day and what’s breaking news today would be old news by tomorrow. That’s why transformation isn’t the right word for it. Transformation implies a special, one-off event. On the other hand, a phrase like “ongoing journey” would accurately depict what’s happening.

10. Thought Leader

Plenty of marketers love being known as thought leaders because of the prestige it carries but very few are actually doing what real “thought leadership” is. Being a thought leader means knowing your stuff or having a high level of education in your area. It doesn’t mean leading other people’s thoughts or rewriting something safe that people have said over and over again or putting out tone-deaf content. Think thrice before claiming the title.

11. Advertainment

Red Bull and AMC with their Mad Men and Walking Dead apps are on top when it comes to making their advertising very entertaining. But there’s really no need to create a monstrosity term like “advertainment” to define what they’re doing especially when it’s essentially an annoying term to define branded marketing. Unless your work is truly entertaining enough without being annoying, you’d simply sound like a pompous ass using this word.

12. Content is King

We all love this phrase but damn is it old. And what’s important today is not only the amount of content but also the quality and how it’s delivered. So while this phrase may still hold some truth to it, it’s time it evolves to “quality and well-optimized content is king on social media” or something like that.

All these marketing buzzwords aren’t forever banned or something like that. They’re simply ideas or terms you should think twice about before using again. You might be surprised at how taking these words out of your vocabulary can improve your creativity, originality, and how you communicate your ideas to your audience.

Leave A Comment


a frustrated man on his black laptop experiencing creative block

7 Best Ways to Overcome a Creative Block When Creating Content

Crushing It Big On Instagram Sales: 5 Big Secrets

Crushing It Big On Instagram Sales: 5 Big Secrets