We all have a love/hate relationship with buzzwords, don’t we? They are like pancakes – super exciting at first but by the end of the stack, you’re sick of them (a nod to the late Mitch Hedberg for the analogy). We embrace and even overuse a new term when it’s fresh to show that we’re ‘in the know’ and on top of marketing and business trends. However, there comes a point when people start overusing new terminology just to sound smart in meetings, articles or blogs, and that’s when it becomes a loathsome buzzword.
There are a few marketing terms that absolutely hit buzzword status in 2016, though some have been around for a few years. Since these terms have significant “groan potential” from your colleagues and peers, I’d recommend avoiding these in 2017.
“We have a results-oriented approach to our work.”
This one has been around for a bit, so let’s agree to put it to bed along with 2016. In business, regardless of industry, if you aren’t results-oriented, then what are you? “Nah, we just care about process; we don’t really care what comes of it.” If that’s your approach, you won’t be around very long.
2. Exceed Expectations
“This team is dedicated to your business and will exceed expectations on every project.”
Another oldie but a baddie! If you come out the gate saying that you will exceed expectations, then the level of expectations has just gone up. Don’t say you’ll do more than what is expected. Just do it, and watch people fall in love with you.
“Throughout the course of our relationship, we will incorporate value-added services to ensure we are creating impact.”
What you are doing as a business or organization is already valuable to your audiences (or I sure hope it is!). You shouldn’t need to add value to what you are doing. Just like with “exceeding expectations,” if you want to add additional value by doing more or giving more, do it and tell them later. If you promise it up-front, then you have devalued the initial product or service.
“Is this project scalable?”
I am laughing as I type this because I am reminded of a funny blog where I first saw someone call this out. Scalability basically means to change the size of something, i.e. “Can we do more of this and reach more people?” The answer is always, “Yes, with more money and people, we can do just about anything.”
“We have an innovative approach to SEO.”
How hollow has this one become? It’s a shame, too, because there’s some real and actual innovation happening out there. However, the term has been used to describe minor enhancements just to sell products or services. If your brand isn’t talked about regularly in Wired or Fast Company, then you might need to find a new word. Instead, talk about how the upgrades and changes add new benefits that have not been seen before.
6. Big Data
“In 2017, we will focus on Big Data.”
What exactly makes it big? There’s just a lot of data out there, and it’s growing exponentially every day. Digital marketing gurus are talking about “Big Data” being the new thing for 2017. From now on, there will always be more information than we can handle. I once heard Davide Grasso, VP of Global Brand Marketing at Nike say that “data is the lamppost of drunkards,” meaning that weak business leaders lean too heavily on data to make decisions. Focus on your brand, listen to your audiences and look at data relevant to your goals.
7. Challenger / Disruptor
“We are a challenger disrupting the market.”
I’ve never seen the rule book for how a brand needs to look or act in any industry. Therefore, every company that’s turning a profit is a challenger brand or an industry disruptor. I can’t think of a single business that is expressing themselves and doing things exactly like another one. Every brand fills a market need in a slightly different way or it wouldn’t exist.
“We should anticipate a lot of convergence in our industry.”
Again, this is nothing new; it’s just a term that’s become vogue in recent years to talk about how products or services are coming together to create other products or services. Convergence and specialization are the yin-yang and push-pull in business that has occurred and will occur for all time.
Even with syrup and butter, these buzzwords are just like that stack of pancakes. Once you have too many bites they taste fluffy and bland. Do you have any to add to this list?