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14 Most Annoying Buzzwords in Marketing


Has your boss ever sat your whole office down in a team meeting and uttered these words: “Team, we are a robust unit of lots of moving parts who all need to be giving 110% to move the needle and come up with a solution. Let’s all think outside of the box, ok?”

Business jargon is the bane of any working person’s life. Why do bosses get a kick out of words which really just sound good and mean very little? Corporate meetings and conference calls alike have become littered with annoying buzzwords and phrases; safe words and phrases to give the illusion of complexity. Well, the fact of the matter is that these phrases are fooling no one. Here are 14 of the most annoying buzzwords in Marketing.

keyword buzzwords

Image Credit: Gavin Llewellyn

1. Core Competency : This terrible collection of words fumbles at defining a worker’s strength in a positive way. However, this is a contradiction in itself; why would someone be happy at being described as competent? Competent means mediocre, surely a company would want the best?

2. Empower : If you’ve heard the word empower before directed at you, you can be sure the person delivering it was being condescending; making you gracious for having a bit of their lovely power. Cheers.

3. Lots of Moving Parts : A grandfather clock has a lot of moving parts, so does a pinball machine, so does a steam engine and so does your team apparently. Are you like any of these things? Probably not.

4. Solution : There’s solutions for everything; a solution for that bug in your software or even a solution for why the staff microwave won’t heat things properly anymore. A very general term, which makes the process of going about doing something sound far more interesting that it actually is.

5. Leverage : ‘Come on guys, all we need to do is apply a bit of leverage’; a phrase which is heard in times of manipulate need. A noun successfully hidden as a verb.

6. Robust : A severely overused phrase which has lost its true meaning. A lead pipe is robust, your boss’s ideas probably are not.

7. Giving 110% : Right. We get it; give a little more. Just say 100%, that’s the maximum possible. Ever. Maths.

8. Swim Lane : A swim lane is basically a job role within a corporation or business. So basically a specific role and not a swim lane at all. This phrase shouldn’t be applicable unless you’re a swimmer and your job is to swim in a specific swim lane, ok?

9. Move the Needle : Nothing to do with being nervous during a blood test injection. Moving the needle implies a positive reaction which happens as the result of an event or action. This phrase is unforgiveable, as we should all be working together to keep needles and sharp objects out of the workplace anyway.

10. Tiger Team : Gooooooo Tigers!! This should not be confused for cheerleader-like chants in the office (which probably would be far better to listen to than all of this jargon). Tiger team are basically the nerds who will fix your computer. Yeah… tigers…

11. Make Hay : Get on your tractor, plough the fields and make hay. The phrase’s classical meaning is ‘make hay while the sun shines’…as in do something very quickly. If your boss was Amish, you could give him the benefit of the doubt when using this phrase.

12. Scalable : Scalable is a big jargon word. Scalable basically means reaping the rewards for something which required a lot of effort. For example, coming up with an App requires a lot of effort and research, but to distribute on iTunes store and make a lot of money is like a walk in the park. No mountains involved in this one unfortunately.

13. Best Practice : The best way of doing things, compared to other mediocre ways of doing things. The person using this is full of hot air.

14. Think Outside the Box : Trying to think about things in an unconventional way. Thinking would be a starting point; who cares about the box?

Finally, it’s never a good idea to use any of these terms when speaking to clients. If you have to, use them with other marketers, but never with people outside marketing. Here are 5 other tips for maintaining good client relationships.

This article is written by Andy. He words at PrinterInks, suppliers of printer accessory solutions for businesses. If you wish to write for HBB, kindly check this.


Andy works at Printerinks.com, suppliers of printer accessory solutions for businesses.

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    • 20 Overused Marketing Terms That Need To Go | Gary Schollmeier Blog

      […] keep exposing them. I'm not the first or alone in this; other articles have been written on this topic. Even Ann Handley in her bestselling Content Rules provides a list, and many consider this book the […]

    • Rajkumar Jonnala

      really a great post. You are describe marketing buzzwords such in best format. I love the way that you write this post . Thanks for sharing with us. Such a helpful post .
      thanks.. 🙂

    • Mike Reeson

      This is a great list! These terms and phrases have always bothered me…now I’ll be able to amuse and entertain myself at the next meeting when one of these are used!!

    • Santosh

      Hi Andy
      What a Excellent list. I’m surprised ‘leverage’ isn’t higher.
      Again, not a buzz ‘word’, but the most cringe-worthy phrase I’ve ever heard:
      “Lets put the shot gun away and get the sniper rifle out.”
      Thanks for share it.

    • rakesh @ Indiabucket

      We also say 100% instead of 110%. It sounds real good.

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