Should you focus on marketing buzzwords?

Should you focus on marketing buzzwords?

Let’s face it, marketing buzzwords can be a bit of a nuisance.

One minute you’re having a normal conversation with someone, the next they start spouting a stream of industry clichés and jargon to make themselves sound clever and important. To the recipient, this can be both confusing and frustrating…

Despite this, we’re pretty sure that marketing buzzwords have their place within the industry. They can help us identify trends we need to take advantage of, and enable us to connect with our clients (if used in the correct way).

So, should we focus on marketing buzzwords or give them a wide berth? Let’s see what we can discover!

What is a buzzword?

Oxford Dictionaries tells us that buzzwords are “a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context”.

There are a lot of generic business buzzwords that have been bandied around for years (not all of them are particularly PC). One man has even made a song about them:

However, buzzwords do tend to vary depending on which sector you work in. Here are the top three buzzwords for two different sectors:

Most buzzwords have something in common though; they make the person using them sound slightly pretentious and they tend to make us cringe!

They get under our skin because they’re often used incorrectly, or don’t seem to mean anything at all. For example, “open the kimono” – what on earth does that mean?

However, buzzwords might not be all bad … Let’s look at how they’re used in marketing.

Why are buzzwords so popular in content marketing?

As an industry, content marketing is full of nonsensical buzzwords. However, as copywriters we’ve come across some useful ones too!

Let’s start by thinking about how content marketers use buzzwords. Usually, it’s to convey meaning to an audience that might not understand a concept. Using a buzzword gives them a ‘lightbulb moment’ and fills them with added confidence that what they’re saying is true.

However, some buzzwords are overused and oversimplify complex concepts which would be better for clients to fully understand.

For example, the word ‘content’ – perhaps the biggest marketing buzzword ever. It loses its meaning because it refers to so many different things…

Is it conversion, campaign or publishing content? Online, offline? Visual, written, something in between (or all of the above)?

There are so many types of content to choose from, marketers need to be much more specific when using this buzzword. Otherwise, things will become confusing and their audience will end up unhappy.

Another popular content marketing buzzword is ‘thought leader’. Almost everyone wants to be one!

However, it’s tough to be a true thought leader. To achieve this, you have to come up with original angles or, to use another business buzzword, ‘break the mould’. Followers should come to you first for advice and you should make tangible changes within your industry.

How many brands do you know that really fit that description? Probably not many, but lots of companies still make this claim. The definition has become watered down over time to refer to a style of content writing rather than a label for a pioneering industry figure.

So, marketing buzzwords have their flaws; they can be irritating, vague and often aren’t particularly effective.

However, the content marketing industry still loves them – there’s no denying it! We have a theory for why this might be.

These buzzwords help signify the latest trends and help marketers identify what’s in vogue and what they should be trying out right now.

Our top 4 marketing buzzwords at the moment:

1) Personalisation

The concept of personalisation has been around for a while, but it’s now one of the most popular marketing buzzwords ever!

These days personalisation is about creating a unique customer experience for every individual that comes into contact with your brand.

2) Artificial intelligence and machine learning

These high-tech buzzwords will get any marketer excited, but perhaps a little bit anxious too.

Technology is transforming the way content marketing works and will make it much easier to provide a personalised experience and analyse large data sets.

3) Storytelling

A strong narrative is really important for any content. It makes your writing engaging, easy to understand and builds a connection with your audience.

All the industry experts are talking about using storytelling as part of your content strategy, so perhaps you should consider it.

4) Conversation marketing

Chat-bots and social media are increasing in popularity, so ‘conversation marketing’ is now an important area of our industry.

It simply means that your marketing strategy involves having a conversation with your customers. Not exactly ground-breaking, but the industry leaders have smacked a fancy label on it to help pin it down.

All of these are marketing buzzwords, however they all describe key trends in the industry that can help us inform our strategies. So, we’re starting to think that marketing buzzwords aren’t so bad after all.

Should we really pay attention to marketing buzzwords?

Marketing buzzwords tend to drift in and out of circulation.

It’s sort of like fashion; this year, the 80s are inspiring runways all over the world. However, five years ago puffy sleeves or a jumpsuit would have been a serious fashion faux-pas.

Thought leadership was once the biggest buzzword on the block, but now ‘data-driven marketing’ and ‘growth hacking’ are the ones to watch.

However, unlike old fashion trends, thought leadership remains relevant for content marketers years after it rose to fame. It’s just not as shiny and new as some of the other buzzwords.

We think that older buzzwords such as thought leadership, newsjacking and gamification, should still inform your strategy. They were important once for a reason – no one would have hyped them up if they really had no meaning.

So, no matter how irritating you might find them, you should still pay attention to marketing buzzwords – even if they’ve gone out of style.

Look back at the marketing buzzwords from yesteryear, as well as those of today, to see how they can inform your marketing strategy. Keep them in mind throughout everything you do, just don’t start spewing them out at random in meetings – as no one will thank you for that!