Mar 06, 2019 - 12:00 PM
For me, the absolute worst buzzword that has been thrown around in marketing for a very long time is "low-hanging fruit". For the most part, it's just a lazy, over-used term. Also, it tends to undersell the value of work and gives the idea that the most attainable part of any project is simply easy. When I worked on the agency side, I avoided using this term at all costs.
Another one that I can't stand is "virality" or "viral marketing". If something is "viral" that is the result of good marketing, not the strategy. It means that your marketing efforts were successful.
Mar 08, 2019 - 02:17 AM
For me, there are three things that can make a buzzword truly awful:
It’s deeply overused
It isn’t used correctly
It doesn’t provide any information
Below are a few of the worst offenders (for me), but any marketing term that falls into one of those three categories will effectively become meaningless.
“Disrupt” or “disruptive” are both overused, and frequently used incorrectly. In rare cases, this buzzword does have meaning. Some companies truly disrupt their industries. But marketing material that promises to disrupt everything all the time renders itself meaningless. By definition, disruption should be rare and hard to predict.
I get it - companies use “clickable content” to refer to the enticing content that will get people to click. However, this buzzword doesn’t really mean anything, because all online content is clickable. Otherwise, no one could find it. I’d rather see a simple word with meaning, like “compelling,” rather than “clickable.”
“Omnichannel” falls into the overused category, and it’s difficult to see why so many brands have latched on to the term. It’s just a fancy, useless way to say “all channels.” If a simple term already exists for something, an expensive-sounding buzzword synonym has no reason to exist.
The word “viral” does have a meaning, but do any marketing brands use it correctly? Certainly not when they promise to use viral marketing. These companies want you to think they have the viral sauce, but there’s no magic formula for virality. Viral marketing truly does not exist.
Content isn’t food. Still, some brands use “consumable” as a shorthand for more specific words, like viewable or readable. When you replace “consumable” with “readable,” you can see how silly this buzzword is. All content should be consumable in some way, therefore the word serves no purpose.
“Synergy” was probably great when brands first discovered the term, but today, it’s been used to death. It has an especially annoying quality since it’s virtually never used outside of business and marketing. When’s the last time you used “synergy” in a casual conversation? And don’t even get me started on “synergistic,” the word’s somehow-more-annoying adjective form.
“Thought leadership” is both overused and useless. It’s a stand-in for words like expertise, influence, and innovation - why not use those instead?
As a side note, “influence” and “innovation” can certainly be overused as well. However, when the words are used in places where they actually fit (such as to refer to truly innovative ideas), they aren’t meaningless buzzwords.
“Value-added” has a meaning, but it isn’t specific enough to actually be a useful term. In marketing, people need to know what kind of value will get added. Will a “value-added” process or product be less expensive? More versatile? Without the specifics, the term effectively means nothing.
“Millennial” isn’t always an offender - but it’s definitely a meaningless buzzword for the many brands that use it incorrectly. It’s become a catch-all for “young people” or even “hip people,” when the term should actually refer to a specific generation or period of time.